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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Be-Bop Deluxe

Modern Music: Deluxe Edition

Review by Gary Hill

This new double-disc collection brings us the original mix of a classic Be-bop Deluxe album along with a new mix. There are a total of three bonus tracks, one of which shows up in two mixes on both CDs. The set also includes a nice booklet and mini-poster. This band is not the kind of prog you might expect when you hear that term, but generally they are considered a prog act, and clearly they have a lot of progressive rock elements in their music. It should be noted that since the mix might be different, but the songs are the same from the first disc to the second, I've used the same track reviews for both discs for the sake of consistency. Obviously the final two tracks are not on the first disc, so those are unique to the second one in the review.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) in Music Street Journal: 2020  Volume 3. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2020.

Track by Track Review
CD One
                
Modern Music: The Original Stereo Mix
          
Orphans of Babylon

Acoustic guitar brings this into being. The cut climbs out from there to a classy rocker with plenty of classic sound in it. There are definite spacey elements further along the road. There also some Beatlesesque bits at times.

Twilight Capers
The opening flourish has more of a full-on prog angle to it. There is a bit of a David Bowie element here. The number seems to combine glam rock with more prog stuff. I can hear hints of Queen in this, too. There is a killer space rock excursion at the end of the piece that gets tastefully weird and lush at the same time.
Kiss of Light
There is a bit of a metallic edge as this opens. The cut shifts to more of a mainstream rock zone from there. The cut has some space rock elements at times. Yet, overall, it's more of a standard pop rock piece.
The Bird Charmers Destiny
Based around a powered up piano and voice arrangement. this makes me think of Queen quite a bit.
The Gold at the End of My Rainbow
With some killer backwards tracked guitar at the start, this is another that calls to mind Queen in some ways. There is a melodic rock vein driving this that leans toward prog and space rock at times. Yet, I can make out some hints of glam rock on the piece, too.
Bring Back the Spark
This is a fast-paced cut that's packed full of shifts and changes. It has some cool hooks and smoking hot guitar work. This is much more of a full prog tune.
Modern Music
The first 30 seconds or so of this consists of someone working through a radio dial. At some points songs appear. At other times it's speaking, including (I think) a bit of The Beatles. Eventually it works to a melodic mid-tempo piece that's quite cool.
Dancing in the Moonlight (All Alone)
This has a real pop vibe, a bit Beatles-like, but there are still proggy tendencies. It's catchy and energetic. It's also quite accessible. There are also some hints of Latin music in a couple places.
Honeymoon on Mars
I can definitely hear more of the David Bowie elements on this number. It has a space rock meets glam thing in places.
Lost in the Neon World

This is a short instrumental bit that's up-tempo and prog based. It serves more as introduction to the next cut than anything else.

Dance of the Uncle Sam Humanoids
This up-tempo cut has some more hints of Queen. It's a powerhouse number that blends progressive and glam rock in style. This is one of the more fully progressive rock oriented pieces here, and it really rocks. It also has some great changes and range built into it. There are some really soaring bits. There is some exceptional guitar soloing here, and it works toward fusion at times.
Modern Music (Reprise)
As you might guess, we get a reprise of the earlier song here. A bit of a radio broadcast segues this into the next piece.
Forbidden Lovers
After the radio bit ends, drums that remind me of Nazareth's "Hair of the Dog" bring this into being. The cut launches from there in style. The prog concepts are in place, along with some glam rock and more.
Down on Terminal Street
A powerful prog journey ensues as this starts. When it drops to a mellower movement for the vocals I'm reminded of Nektar. In fact, this cut really makes me think of that band to a large degree, but with hints of Mott the Hoople and David Bowie built into it. This is one of the highlights of the set.
Make the Music Magic
More of an acoustic guitar based number, this has a pop rock vibe with definite glam elements. It drifts toward spacey jamming after the sung portion.
Bonus Track
           
Shine (B-Side of Single)

Echoey, funky jamming brings this thing into being. I'm definitely reminded of Bowie on this number.  There is some smoking hot guitar work as the song continues to explore from there. That section reminds me a bit of a funky version of Pink Floyd. Check out that bass work, too. Around the five-and-a-half-minute mark it drops back to a mellower section and some dialog that seems to be from a movie is heard. They power it back out from there as the jamming continues.

CD Two
           
Modern Music: The New Stereo Mixes
                 
Orphans of Babylon

Acoustic guitar brings this into being. The cut climbs out from there to a classy rocker with plenty of classic sound in it. There are definite spacey elements further along the road. There also some Beatlesesque bits at times.

Twilight Capers
The opening flourish has more of a full-on prog angle to it. There is a bit of a David Bowie element here. The number seems to combine glam rock with more prog stuff. I can hear hints of Queen in this, too. There is a killer space rock excursion at the end of the piece that gets tastefully weird and lush at the same time.
Kiss of Light
There is a bit of a metallic edge as this opens. The cut shifts to more of a mainstream rock zone from there. The cut has some space rock elements at times. Yet, overall, it's more of a standard pop rock piece.
The Bird Charmers Destiny
Based around a powered up piano and voice arrangement. this makes me think of Queen quite a bit.
The Gold at the End of My Rainbow
With some killer backwards tracked guitar at the start, this is another that calls to mind Queen in some ways. There is a melodic rock vein driving this that leans toward prog and space rock at times. Yet, I can make out some hints of glam rock on the piece, too.
Bring Back the Spark
This is a fast-paced cut that's packed full of shifts and changes. It has some cool hooks and smoking hot guitar work. This is much more of a full prog tune.
Modern Music
The first 30 seconds or so of this consists of someone working through a radio dial. At some points songs appear. At other times it's speaking, including (I think) a bit of The Beatles. Eventually it works to a melodic mid-tempo piece that's quite cool.
Dancing in the Moonlight (All Alone)
This has a real pop vibe, a bit Beatles-like, but there are still proggy tendencies. It's catchy and energetic. It's also quite accessible. There are also some hints of Latin music in a couple places.
Honeymoon on Mars
I can definitely hear more of the David Bowie elements on this number. It has a space rock meets glam thing in places.
Lost in the Neon World
This is a short instrumental bit that's up-tempo and prog based. It serves more as introduction to the next cut than anything else.
Dance of the Uncle Sam Humanoids
This up-tempo cut has some more hints of Queen. It's a powerhouse number that blends progressive and glam rock in style. This is one of the more fully progressive rock oriented pieces here, and it really rocks. It also has some great changes and range built into it. There are some really soaring bits. There is some exceptional guitar soloing here, and it works toward fusion at times.
Modern Music (Reprise)
As you might guess, we get a reprise of the earlier song here. A bit of a radio broadcast segues this into the next piece.
Forbidden Lovers
After the radio bit ends, drums that remind me of Nazareth's "Hair of the Dog" bring this into being. The cut launches from there in style. The prog concepts are in place, along with some glam rock and more.
Down on Terminal Street
A powerful prog journey ensues as this starts. When it drops to a mellower movement for the vocals I'm reminded of Nektar. In fact, this cut really makes me think of that band to a large degree, but with hints of Mott the Hoople and David Bowie built into it. This is one of the highlights of the set.
Make the Music Magic
More of an acoustic guitar based number, this has a pop rock vibe with definite glam elements. It drifts toward spacey jamming after the sung portion.
Bonus Tracks
              
Shine (B-Side of Single)

Echoey, funky jamming brings this thing into being. I'm definitely reminded of Bowie on this number.  There is some smoking hot guitar work as the song continues to explore from there. That section reminds me a bit of a funky version of Pink Floyd. Check out that bass work, too. Around the five-and-a-half-minute mark it drops back to a mellower section and some dialog that seems to be from a movie is heard. They power it back out from there as the jamming continues.

Forbidden Lovers (First Version)
Starting with studio sounds and a count in, this is a powered up version that works well. It seems to have an immediacy and energy to it that is a bit downplayed in the actual album take. I almost think I prefer this one.
The Bird Charmer's Destiny (First Version)
Strictly piano and vocals, this seems more like a concept demo to me. It is definitely not as strong as the finished version.
 
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