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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Terry Draper

Bread and Cirkus

Review by Gary Hill

You can never go wrong with releases from Terry Draper. Draper first came to fame as part of the band Klaatu, but in more recent years he's released quite an impressive catalog of music. This new album is split into two halves, the "Bread" half that is more pop oriented with shorter songs and the "Cirkus" part with longer, proggier pieces. That is Draper's description, but I would say largely both parts of the album have both pop rock stuff and proggy. Then again, that's pretty much true of Klaatu, as well. As is always the case (and rightly so) Draper's music sounds rather Klaatu-like a lot of the time, but it does stretch out from there, too. Among the musicians joining Draper on this album are two names that should be familiar to MSJ readers, Fernando Perdomo and Jaimie Vernon.

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Track by Track Review
All Together

There is a short burst of music, and then some spoken studio banter is heard. The cut works out from there to a bouncy pop rock number that's so much fun. This is cheery and bright. The "sunny day" part has some definite Beatles elements at play. The instrumental break that follows that is more proggy.

A bouncy and fun cut, this really does call to mind Klaatu. Then again, what do you expect, right? It's definitely a pop rocker.
In My Dreams
Appropriately more dreamy, this has some intriguing backing vocals. Those vocals sometimes feel almost synthetic. There are plenty of unique pieces of sound woven into it. While this is mostly a straight road, it does have some interesting twists along the road.
I like the psychedelic meets pop rock vibe of this number quite a bit. It has plenty of catchy hooks. It's also meaty in its own way.
The Road
I dig the proggy rocking concept here a lot. This still has lots of mainstream sound. It also feels rather like Draper's old band. This is classy stuff however you slice it. It's less decidedly accessible, but it's one of my favorites on the disc. It has some soaring psychedelic stuff later, too.
Everything About You
There are definite prog angles in the arrangement on this. Yet, it's also pop oriented. It has a real bounce to it, but also some quirky things. The Beatles things shine through at times, too.
One Heart
I dig the organ on this. The backing vocals have a classic and particularly effective presence. This song is another great pop rocker.
Bread & Cirkus

Sound effects like one might have heard in the old Roman Cirkus starts this. The cut drives out with a quirky jam that feels a lot like King Crimson. As it continues it has plenty of jazz and prog tendencies. It's a driving and cool prog rocker. It does get into some psychedelically tinged, Beatles-leaning stuff later, but even that is left-of-center and unusual.

The Tale of Ted
Coming in mellower, this is keyboard based and rather poetic at first. It eventually works out into more of a bouncy number that again calls to mind Klaatu. This is a song that serves as a tribute to a lost comrade. It gets proggier at times, but overall remains fairly constant.
Now And Never
There is a healthy helping of psychedelia on this along with Klaatu textures. There are Beatlesesque backing vocals and some George Harrison like guitar lines on this number.
Sun Worshiping
Coming in electronic, atmospheric and tastefully alien, this builds up gradually from there as the introduction continues. Draper and company work this through some real drama and magic as it continues. This is very much art music. After an introduction that is at times spooky, this cut gets into a more mainstream song structure for the real vocals (there were  some weirdly processed ones earlier). This is still packed full of drama and magic and remains decidedly proggy.
I really love the dreamy, beautiful melodic vibe of this song. It does get proggier as it drives onward. This is an effective number with plenty of pop rock texture in it.
Let Us Be One
I love the positive lyrical themes of this. We need more this kind of mindset in our world now. This has a proggy pop rock arrangement that is both Beatlesesque and Klaatu-like.
I think this is my favorite track of the whole disc. The number has so many twists and turns. It's packed full of drama and magic throughout. This seems to be the most complex and purely prog based thing here. It has so many cool variants and moods. The vocal arrangement is perfect on this, but so is pretty much everything else. It has its fair share of both bouncier pop rock and potent prog. This song is worth the price of admission all by itself.
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