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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Neil Jacobson

Sliver Park

Review by Gary Hill

There is a modern trend where people listen to one or two songs from an artist rather than a whole disc. I think this would benefit from that phenomenon. While there is some variety here, the whole set has a real monolithic quality that can make the songs feel too similar when you listen to them all at once. In terms of genre, this lands in the general area of singer-songwriter rock music. I have to say that I enjoy the instrumental work the most here. The vocals don't really work well for me. They bring a real DIY, punky edge. All that said, there are some charms to this.

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Track by Track Review
I'm Trying
I dig the cool retro rocking groove that brings this into being. There is a soulful edge to the cut. I can make out some funk and a DIY, punky edge. For some reason I'm reminded just a little of Alice Cooper on this opening piece.
Top of My Cycle
Less soulful and retro, this is more hard rocking and 70s based. The vocals bring that punk edge, and there are a couple awkward changes on this. This has its charms, but seems less polished than the opener.
What the Animal Looks Like
I dig the rhythmic groove on this tune. The keyboard sounds are classy, too. There is a bit of a jazzy texture. I really like the timing on this, and the guitar soloing is all class.
The guitar on this is funky. The vocals work better than they do on some of the songs. The tune has a good vibe and energy.
Brand New Product
I'm not crazy about the percussion on track on this tune. The keyboard textures (in the sections that feature them) are cool. This has a stripped back approach. The whole tune has some charms, but feels a bit awkward. Some of the vocals are almost whispered, and a bit weird. I'd say that this is one of the tracks that doesn't work very well. It does show some creativity and variety, though.
Laugh Out Loud
The opening movement on this actually leans toward progressive rock in some way. The cut launches out from there in style with a hard rocking texture. This number is the highlight of the set. It seems to work better and really gel more than the rest of the music here. It's a fun rocker.
I really love some of the intricate guitar play on the instrumental section of this cut. The number has a driving groove in a rather stripped back arrangement. While this has some rough spots, it's elevated beyond a lot of the rest of the set. The vocals work better, too.
Victim of Poor Choices
I dig the dark, heavy vibe of this. The instrumental modes are among the most effective of the set. The vocals are better than those on some of the other songs. This is a highlight of the disc.
My Own Murder (Revisited)
A more sedate motif brings this in with some intriguing mellower textures. The cut grows out into some rather funky, almost proggy zones. This is one of the most "different" pieces. It's also one of the most effective. It has some cool shifts and changes.
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