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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Tautologic

Re:Psychle

Review by Gary Hill

This is an unusual and oddly compelling set. The music lands quite firmly in progressive rock, while the vocals are often more in keeping with weird alternative rock styles. That said, it works together well, perhaps calling to mind They Might be Giants in some ways. Perhaps the most surprising thing about this is that for music that is as decidedly out of the norm, it's actually quite catchy. If you like your prog rock adventurous and unusual, give this a try. The rewards are well worth the risk.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2018  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Loud Shoes
This opens with an almost folk music based musical concept. It works out through several changes over the course of the extended introduction. Eventually it becomes a jazz based kind of jam that has some funk, but plenty of prog rock in the mix. This is a bit on the odd side, but also so cool. The guitar solo section that ensues is purely powerhouse stuff. The instrumental jam that comes out of that maintains the intensity in style. That gives way to a return to the song proper. The next guitar solo lands more in the neighborhood of fusion.
Not If but When
This number has even more funk in the mix than the previous one did. There is a lot of Frank Zappa sort of weirdness built into this thing. It's energetic and a lot of fun.
The Admiral
The vocals on this bring a lot of jazz to the proceedings. The lyrics bring a lot of paranoia. There is a cool classical music interlude later in the number. It grows outward from there in fine fashion. We get a return to the jazz-like vocals later in the track.
The Professor
Odd and yet strangely catchy, there are a lot of musical references here The Residents to Birdsongs of the Mesozoic and more. This has a lot of classical music in the mix. It has a great shifting, twisting kind of vibe to it. There are some seriously soaring bits built into this thing at times. At six minutes plus, this is the longest piece of music here. They make good use of that extra room.
On Your Left
That title immediately makes me think of the Captain America: The Winter Soldier movie. As this comes in there is almost a jazz meets hoedown kind of vibe. It becomes a playful little jam that is a lot of fun. It's still tastefully twisted, though. For such a playful sounding number, the lyrics are decidedly dark. That's particularly true of the acapella section at the end.
The Choirboy
Fast paced and perhaps a bit more serious in tone, this is a killer prog song. It has a lot of fusion in the mix. This is definitely one of my favorite tunes here. It's still a bit twisted in a great way, but it's also so effective. The drop back section leads into an intensified return to the previous sounds. The guitar soloing on the killer guitar solo on the closing section makes me think of Zappa just a bit.
Coltrane Supermarket
There is a very weird and noisy jazz bit at the start of this. That ends before they move to a bouncing kind of arrangement for the song proper. The number works through several changes and movements. It is a playful and rather fun cut.
The Whistler
With a bit of a Celtic vibe added to the mix, this rocker maintains the same kind of odd sort of texture of the rest of the set. This has one of the catchiest choruses here, though. I love the dropped back instrumental section at the end of the track, too.
The Gospel Lady
There is a dreamy kind of jazzy musical element to parts of this cut. The vocals have their usual oddities but are perhaps more soaring and artsy. It turns toward more rocking territory later in the cut. I love the guitar solo section later in the track. It has a soaring kind of jazz band meets fusion vibe.
Osaka Garden
A mellow and rather pretty piece, this really is in tune with the title and lyrical elements. While I think this might have worked better in the previous slot, leaving either "The Whistler" or "The Gospel Lady" as the closer, I like this a lot.
 
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