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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Steve Drizos


Review by Gary Hill

As I've noted in other reviews, when I'm lining up music for a new issue of MSJ, I tend to scan a little bit of a song or two to decide what category it lands in. Well, I listened to a good chunk of the first track here and landed it under prog. As I worked on the review, though, it became obvious that number was the outlyer. The rest of this has elements of progressive rock quite often, but really is more mainstream singer-songwriter styled alternative rock. The vocals have an indie quality to them, and this is good, but it's not prog, so I had to move it. It is an unusual and intriguing set however you categorize it, though.

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Track by Track Review
Mellow keyboard elements start the album's opener. Eventually other instruments join as the arrangements fills out and rises upward. The cut has a real melodic prog vibe as it continues. It drops to more of a jazzy, more sedate dropped back movement. A female spoken voice is heard over the top. The number continues by alternating those two concepts.
Juggling Fire
Acoustic guitar serves as the backdrop for the vocals as this cut starts in sort of a singer-songwriter zone. This gets more proggy as it continues but is still well set in that sort of alternative rock groove.
This almost seems to run in a middle ground between the first two songs. It's much proggier than the last track, but there is a real driving, hard rocking, singer-songwriter vibe to it, too. I really dig the upfront bass on the piece. The instrumental break later in the number with its killer synthesizer solo really brings the prog home to roost.
You Don’t See That Now (feat. Kyleen King)
I like the addition of the backing vocals. The violin is also a great touch on this piece. While this also reflects both the more mainstream side and the proggier one, I'd say that alternative rock vibe is the prominent one here. Still, some of the instrumental work gets pretty deeply proggy.
Softer, Please
Again, the mix of sounds is similar here. I really dig the guitar solo on this, but overall this number doesn't really stand out.
Covering Your Eyes
I really like some of the instrumental moments on this that lean more toward the prog end of the spectrum. An energized tune, this isn't a big change, but it's also quite effective. The harder rocking section that explodes out later really takes this over the top into greatness. In fact, I'd consider this one of the highlights of the disc.
Take You Home
There is a soaring kind of vibe to this cut. Think of it as sort of thinking man's indie rock. It has a lot of proggy aspects and a subtler feeling to it. It's rather introspective and quite beautiful, at least in the first section. It turns more rocking later, and then evolves into more of a soaring, spacey prog sound from there.
Liminal Space
Much of this lands more in the alternative rock zone. Later in the track, though, it drops to pure space for a time. It comes back out with a new rocking arrangement that brings more of a prog angle to it. As it continues to evolve, we're taken into a zone that resembles a proggy version of power-pop. There is some awesome guitar exploration along that part of the road. The cut drops to a vocal dominant part at the end before space takes us out.
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