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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Sarah Perrotta

Blue to Gold

Review by Gary Hill

I have to say that I have gone back and forth on whether this release fits under progressive rock. Ultimately, I made the decision to put it there. One reason is because it's got so much art music in it. Another is because there lots of proggy tendencies here. Had a come to that conclusion sooner, I would have managed to fit this in a while ago (half of every issue - or more - is prog, so that means other things can take longer to get to). Here's the thing, no matter what you call this, the music here is powerful and captivating. Sarah Perrotta's vocals are so evocative and effective. The arrangements are unusual in a great way. This is just a very exceptional release. I should mention that for regular MSJ readers, a couple familiar names are among the musicians here - Jerry Marotta (who not only plays on it, but also produced it) and Tony Levin. There are plenty of other great musicians here, but those two caught my eye.

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Track by Track Review
The Other Side
Piano is the first thing heard on the album. It paints an intriguing sonic soundscape. The vocals come in over the top of that instrument. The cut works out after the first vocal section to a rather proggy arrangement packed with symphonic and rock charms. This is a powerful ballad. The tune becomes so powerful in the later rocking portions. Multiple layers of vocals lend a lot to it, but the song itself just shines so brightly in general.
Echo of Joy
While this may not have the proggy tendencies of the opener, there is a cool dropped down section on this that at least brings some psychedelia. It features some cool slide or pedal steel guitar. The main song is more of a mainstream pop rock sound that is at times informed by The Beatles, but also by country music. The backing vocals and other layers of augmentation really bring so much magic to this.
The Wilderness
This one, like the opener, begins with a piano and vocal arrangement. The piano creates a more barren and sparse pattern here, though. The cut turns out toward more of a power ballad approach as it continues and other instruments take over. There are again proggy things going on here. This is so dramatic and evocative.
I dig the dramatic rocking vibe of this cut. It's again got plenty of proggy tendency built into it. Yet, it's more of a mainstream rock tune. The symphonic instrumentation on this really soars. It has a real art music sensibility and so much charm.
As this gets underway it feels more earthy and soulful. It's a more grounded piece. While this is much more of a mainstream piece, it still has some powerful layers in its arrangement. The organ lends a retro vibe. This has a mainstream pop rock concept at its heart.
Spectrum of Color
This has such a cool rocking groove to it. The rubbery bass sound underneath is all class. The guitar angles are unique. While this is not a prog sound, some of the overlayers definitely bring prog angles. They also bring so much power and style.
Blue to Gold
There is a jazz sort of swing to this piece. The cut features a psychedelic meets alternative meets prog and art rock vibe to it. The jazz elements really get more pronounced in the more powerful zones later.
Don't You Stop
I dig the cool artsy, mellow sound that gets this number underway. This thing grows outward and upward in fine fashion.
There are dreamy textures to this balladic piece. It's pretty and effective. It remains mellower than most of the rest here, but still packs quite a wallop emotionally.
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