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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Dick Aven

It All Started in the Garden

Review by Gary Hill

The music on this album is so strong. It sits in a very timeless and classic rock motif. This is the kind of thing that would have been huge in the 1970s. I have one issue with this set and that all comes from the lyrics of one song that seem to be pushing a ridiculous conspiracy theory. I know, it might seem unusual for me to be pointing that out, but if I've learned anything in recent years, it is that conspiracy theories are not harmless and they must be called out and ridiculed every time. The time to be silent about stuff like that is past. So, if it turns out that those lyrics are pushing the agenda they seem to be, I'd advise you to skip that song, or hold it up as something to be laughed at. It's just a shame that an otherwise perfect album is marred by ignorant gullibility.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2021  Volume 4. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2021.

Track by Track Review
This is How I Am
Starting mellow, this gets into soaring classic rock zones as the introduction continues. It eventually works to more of a mainstream rock zone for the entrance of the vocals. There are some hints of proggy texture on this tune. It's a strong number with plenty of contrast and dynamic range. This is such a strong piece.
No Clue
I love the sound of this number. There is a real dramatic classic rock concept here. I'm reminded of The Beatles just a little at times here. As good as the opener was, this is even stronger. There are some jazzy things in the mix, too.
Too Far Gone
Another winner, this reminds to some degree of early Bee Gees. It's an effective piece on a set full of effective music. There is a moodiness and a lot of magic here.
Moments Face to Face
The opening of this brings a real jazz rock vibe to bear. The cut works out from there to more of a folky rocking concept. This is another that calls to mind The Beatles a bit at times. As the arrangement fills out again later, that jazz rock thing is back with a vengeance. There is some funk built onto this. The cut really has both Beatles and Bee Gees vibes. The tune even has a little world music foray added to it later.
Island of My Own
Another with a lot of jazzy elements at play, this is a solid number, but not one of my favorites. Still, it has its charms. For instance, I really love the retro texture brought by the whistling movement later.
It All Started in the Garden
The contrast between the mellower and more bombastic on this title track is magical. The cut has a lot of jazzy textures at times. It's an intriguing and rather proggy journey that works well.
Being Still
This moody piece is very proggy and classy. This might be my favorite track here. It's definitely all class and style.
Old Black Mold
At once jazzy, proggy and Beatles-esque, this is another pure winner. That said, I do have to question the lyrics on this one. If he's the pushing conspiracy theories that I think he is, I'd consider this a "must skip" tune. If there is another meaning that wouldn't apply. As I mentioned in my Lynyrd Skynyrd review last issue we've seen what not calling out ignorance gets us, and it is no longer okay to just ignore stuff like that.
Glorious Flashes of Light
I like the dreamy, soaring kind of texture to this number. The song has a great energy and really grooves well.
Perpetual Weekend
This cut has a great jazzy vibe to it. It's largely instrumental. It's also such a classy tune. It's also a great way to end a particularly strong album in style.
 
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