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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

The Smallest Creature

Magic Beans

Review by Gary Hill

I previously reviewed a single from this act. I landed that under progressive rock. I'm doing the same here, but it's not the tightest fit from start to finish. Even when it does fit, this lands closer to the modern alternative rock inspired version of prog. That said, no matter how you label it, this is a great set. I like it a lot.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2020  Volume 6. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2020.


Track by Track Review
Would You Blink
Coming in gentle and growing outward gradually from there, this has a real dreamy kind of vibe to it for nearly the first minute. It explodes out into harder rocking, more driving modes from there, bringing a bit of an 80s rock vibe with it. This is a real powerhouse number. This evolves and works forward with a real sense of intent and some serious intensity.
October Song
This one starts rather mellow, too. It works out to a sound that has a lot of alternative rock built into it. That said there is quite a bit of roots music in the mix, too. There are dream-like layers of sound over the top of this, too.
Glow
This is such a meaty cut. It has a lot of grunge in the mix. I love the guitar that kind of swims around the arrangement. As grungey as this is, it still has plenty of modern prog and space rock built into it. It's also not far removed from some of Hawkwind's music.
Break Me
Alternative rock is at the heart of this number as it works outward from silence. The song gets into dreamy, shoegaze-like territory as it continues building.
You Are Ready
Guitar chording brings this into being. The cut grows out from there with alternative rock textures. There is a healthy helping of Americana on this along with hints of punk. This is less proggy than some of the other stuff here, but does have some soaring layers of dream-like sound at times. There is an almost art-rock poetic angle to the vocals on this, too. In fact, for some reason the vocal lines (and even the whole song) at times makes me think of Red-era King Crimson just a bit. It's a powerful tune whatever you call it. This might be my favorite tune here, really.
Crawl
More of an alternative grunge rocker, this is another without a ton of proggy stuff in place. It's still a very potent tune, though. I prefer the one that preceded it, but this is pretty great, and cut from much the same cloth.
Let Burn
Driving and hard-edged, this is a screaming hot cut. It has grunge, alternative rock and even some metal in the mix. Yet there are some proggy moments and changes, too. While this isn't decidedly proggy, there is more prog in the mix than there was on the last couple pieces.
Find
Now, this comes in with a dreamy, bluesy sound that makes me think of Pink Floyd to a large degree.
Cut Through Me
Alternative rock and shoegaze styled modern prog merge in an effective number that has a lot of dream-like quality to it.
Come Back
More of that shoegaze, dream-like sound is all over this rocker. It has a lot of energy and alternative rock sound. It's also soaring.
The Mist
This lands very much in the shoegaze zone. It's quite a cool ride and intriguing number. It makes for a great closer.
 
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