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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Vanilla Bloom

Promise

Review by Gary Hill

I've landed this act under prog rock. That's largely because of the "art rock" nature of it. That said, there are parts of this that fit more securely under the prog heading. However you categorize this, though, it's intriguing. It has a good blend of psychedelia, space rock, alternative and more. At different points I can hear echoes of things like Pink Floyd and Muse. All in all, this an entertaining and intriguing set. If I had one thing I'd change, though, it's the order of the music. The first few tracks seem a little samey, but it gets more varied and experimental after that. I think that by moving a couple of those pieces around a little, it would create a stronger album. Then again, in an era where people tend to listen to a song or two at time versus a whole disc, I'm not sure how important that is.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2022  Volume 4. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2022.

Track by Track Review
Sour Patch
The sound of a door bell is heard early on in this tune. The cut has a cool psychedelia meets alternative rock vibe to it. The fuzz-drenched guitar solo section on this is so tasty.
Ithaca (On & On)
While the mix of sounds here is largely the same, this cut has its own identity. It's perhaps more closely aligned with the alternative rock angle. That said, to some degree I'm reminded of Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd.
Helicopter, 1997
With the same mix of sounds, this has a trippy kind of pulsating vibe that works well. I'd consider it more alternative rocker than psychedelia, but both sides are represented.
Sleepy Boy
I dig the keyboard textures on this. The driving rocking concepts work really well, too. This perhaps fits better on the psychedelic side of the equation.
Phoenix/Saffron
Coming in harder rocking, this makes me think of Muse to some degree. It's edgier and more on the modern side. It's still informed by older music, though. It dissolves later into some trippy space music that is among my favorite passages of the disc.
Metro Tranist Gloria
I dig the hard rocking textures of this number quite a bit. It's another that fits more in the Muse, alternative rock side of things.
Skyflower
Now, this is a well-needed bit of variety. It has a very art-music vibe. It's on the mellower side with trippy psychedelia and more laced onto it. It's one of the highlights of the set. It has some great twists and turns.
Ticket To Ride
Another piece of variety, this has some funk and plenty of proggy, space rock texture in the mix. This is another highlight. It has some great trippy sections and some real class.
Cloud Pink
Weird electronic art music is in the driver's seat here. This is trippy and so cool. The cut evolves in some intriguing directions, becoming a bit more alternative rock based later.
Renegade (I-III)
Electronic and keyboard oriented, this song works through a number of changes. It's lush and dramatic. It has plenty of psychedelia in the mix along with a healthy helping of modern prog. Yet, it's still accessible and yet artsy.
Renegade (IV-V)
The first part of this is more mainstream pop-rock oriented. From there the cut works to trippy prog zones that have a healthy helping of early Pink Floyd in the mix. There is plenty of space rock and horns bring some jazzy concepts. It's all so trippy.
Ourora Borealis
This has a rich and lush motif. The keyboards and other spacey elements really bring the prog things to bear. Yet there are more direct and mainstream rock moments at play, too. All in all, this is another highlight of the disc and a great way to end it in style. The closing section really shows off some proggy magic.
 
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