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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

These Curious Thoughts

Inventing Dr. Sutherland and His Traveling Hospital

Review by Gary Hill

This is an intriguing set, but you can pretty much say that about everything from this act. This 2014 release is apparently a concept album that almost qualifies as musical theater. The mix of alternative rock, modern prog and psychedelia remains a constant throughout, but there are plenty of variants and changes throughout. This is cool and unusual stuff.

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Track by Track Review
The Dark Room
Psychedelia, jazz and prog all merge as this tune powers out of the gate. The vocals come in over that arrangement. This has moody tendencies and plenty of psychedelic rock built into it. It's a killer opening salvo.
Inventing Dr. Sutherland and His Traveling Hospital
The guitar soloing as this gets going definitely makes me think of Jerry Garcia. The vocals also bring some definite Grateful Dead references to bear. In fact, I'd consider this opening section of number to be a slightly proggier version of Grateful Dead music. The chorus has a bit of a Beatles psychedelia thing at play. There is a strange skit-like part in the middle of the track. That brings a real art rock vibe to it. The music turns out to some killer prog as that intensifies. The song feels like it's over, and then we get a cool jazzy reprise from there.
Dramatic prog meets blues rock sounds start this cut. The number works out from there with both psychedelia and jazz added to the mix. The track drops down a bit for the entrance of the vocals. This cut gets small parental advisory for the lyrics. This has a theatrical element to it, and has some real proggy things underway through a lot of the run. The changes are intriguing and unusual. It dissolves into some trippy freakiness at the end.
Jupiter's Baby
Mellower modes bring this number into existence. This is quite psychedelic, and a bit weird. There is a real dreamy quality to it. This is an oddly effective piece.
Purple Godzilla
A powerhouse jam, this has some great arena rock prog in the mix. The vocals have a bit of alternative angle. This is quite a solid number. It's one of the more purely high energy pieces.
Born Again
Prog and psychedelia merge on another classy tune. It has some cool shifts and changes and trippy over layers of sound.
Locked up in Chains
Coming in rather Beatles-like, this powers out into more pure prog. Still, it's informed by psychedelic elements.
Backpack Full of Tears
They bring this one in with a bit of a folk rock kind of vibe. There are definitely roots music elements in the mix. This reminds me a lot of Camper Van Beethoven. While this gets some proggy elements added to the mix, the roots and alternative concepts are the driving factors on this tune.
Choking on the Walls
The alternative elements are in control of this one to a large degree. Still, it has some proggy elements and some psychedelia built into it. There are even some jazzy tendencies to it.
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
This is a shorter tune. It's also a bit mellower than some of the rest. That said, it gets pretty soaring. It has a great combination of prog and psychedelic in its midst.
Dirty Windows
Piano and vocals make up the mix as this number starts. It grows outward gradually with a real art work vibe. Around the minute-and-a-half mark, the tune gets an infusion of rock music. The earlier modes are augmented by this added energy as it continues. There is still plenty of alternative rock in the mix.
An Ocean Song
Folk music is a big part of the first part of this number. There are trippy prog-like concepts in some of the layers that augment it. The number turns more purely proggy as it continues. For some reason I'm reminded just a bit of Procol Harum, but with a more modern twist. The cut works out into a killer prog instrumental movement from there.
Mellower and rather trippy, there are some vocals at the start of this that have a chorale arrangement. Then a spoken vocal is added to the mix, bringing a theatrical art rock vibe with it. After the one-minute mark the cut explodes out into a killer psychedelically based prog rock jam that is among the coolest musical passages of the disc. Sung vocals join, moving the number forward. There is a weird, tweaked spoken vocal bit that comes in at the end as those chorale vocals return.
My Ashes
I love the cool alternative rock meets prog angle to this cut. Horns bring an interesting angle and the tune is just so tasty. It's one of my favorites here.
This powers in with some real psychedelic rock goodness. There is plenty of trippy class built into this number. It has some Beatles-like elements along with definite prog rock. It's all tempered with a cool song structure and some alternative rock. The horns and closing movement bring an almost marching band angle to it before it drifts out into space to end.
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