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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Liam Moore

Visions of a Perfect Life

Review by Gary Hill

A lot of modern music draws heavily on roots music. This is one such set. While there is an alternative rock or alternative pop edge to this, the set showcases a lot of folk, country and bluegrass leanings. The thing is, it also wanders into areas like space rock, psychedelia, prog and art rock. This is an intriguing album that has a lot in common with acts like Mumford and Sons, but also treads ground more often reserved for more trippy rock acts.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2020  Volume 5. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2020.

Track by Track Review
Cosmic Noon
Ambient, spacey keyboard elements start this cut. Vocals come in over the top of that. As it continues those space sounds really create an art-rock vibe to this thing. There is a moody, kind of slow moving vibe to the early sections of this. The cut shifts out after a while to a dramatic folk rock meets electronic texture. This is an unusual and effective track.
Horseshoe
Coming in with more of a direct folk rock sound, there is an alternative pop rock side to the sound of this. I like the energy and hooks on this a lot. While this is a bit more mainstream than the opener was, I think I prefer it. The slide guitar brings hints of both country and psychedelia.
Finis
Intricate picked guitar starts this number. Flute comes over the top. Then the vocals join. This has a real prog meets psychedelic vibe to it. The violin dances over the arrangement, bringing a lot of style. This is a short cut, but also one of the strongest. It has some intriguing moments.
Lift
A symphonic horn arrangement creates the opening movement here. Folk-based textures take over from there. The alternative rock concepts are at the heart of the piece. The horns bring a lot of cool to it.
Cottonwood
There are definite country music elements built into this. The cut has a down-home quality to it. Yet, there are modern things at play, too.
The Slouch
This guitar based tune has plenty of folk rock built into it. It's effective, but not a standout.
Imbalances
While this is largely built around mellower alternative rock that has a folk basis, the ending section turns it noisy and hard rocking.
Apologia
There are a lot of classical elements at play here. Beyond that this is an alternative meets folk rock kind of number. It has a real artsy edge to it.
Early to Bed, Early to Rise
I like the bluegrass instrumentation on this. The cut has plenty of roots music along with more mainstream alternative pop. There is a definite folk meets bluegrass sound to the instrumental break.
(You Don’t Have To) Grow Up

Starting slowly with just acoustic guitar, vocals join pretty quickly. That arrangement holds the piece for a while. There is a blues element to it, along with some jazz. Keyboards are added after a while. The arrangement gradually builds out from there. Horns join after a while, really reinforcing the jazz reference. This cut is quite a powerhouse when it really kicks into gear, and it earns a small parental advisory for the lyrics.

Hidden Track
Stick around after the song ends. There is a long period of silence before a piano arrangement rises upward. Vocals join and this hidden number is under way.
 
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