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Progressive Rock CD Reviews


Strange Songs for Strange Times

Review by Gary Hill

This might be an odd choice for progressive rock. I think it fits, though. This is art music for sure. At times I'm reminded of Frank Zappa. In some strange ways I think The Residents are a valid reference point, too. This is unique, experimental and strange. Then again, strange is there right in the title of the album. While this is a challenging listening experience, it's also rewarding.

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Track by Track Review
Sound effects get this going. The track comes in with sort of a weird musical theater vibe. It's bizarre, off-kilter and theatrical. It grows to something closer to a more mainstream rock sound from there, but it's still heavy on the weird end of the spectrum. There are a number of twists and turns along the road here. Some parts of this make me think of Frank Zappa. That really applies on the section that takes over for a time mid-track. I can also make out some David Byrne on this, too.
The Before Times (feat. George Noory)
This is sort of a skit piece. It includes sound effects and a spoken vocal line. .
There'll Be No Dancing
Folk rock and the kind of off-kilter artsy weirdness we're used to converge here. While still twisted, this is more mainstream than anything we've heard to this point. It works pretty well.
1000mph To Nowhere (feat. George Noory)
Here we get another spoken piece. There are no sound effects here (except for a short bit with a cricket chirp), but this does have a dialog between THUNDERCLAP and Mr. Noory. It gets pretty sexually-oriented before it's over.
Monster of Speed
Here is another with plenty of folk music in the mix. It's weirder than "There'll Be No Dancing."
Plain Eclipse of The Snake
While this isn't a big change from the previous number, there are hints of Hunky Dory era David Bowie on this. That's a good thing to me because I love that album. This gets a more filled out arrangement at times.
The Albatross (feat. George Noory)
Here we get another spoken one. There are some minor effects here, and at times the voice becomes legion.
Oh Yes, Here It Is
Built around acoustic guitar, this has a stream of consciousness like thing at play. The track gets into some more decidedly proggy zones at times when the arrangement fills out. This is definitely strange artsy stuff. It again has some hints of David Bowie for me.
A Cinematic Prayer
Artsy and rather freaky, this is another with some of that Hunky Dory thing at play. This is trippier and more psychedelic than a lot of the stuff here.
The Sound of Horror (feat. George Noory)
Here we get another spoken piece. This has some sound effects feeling like the dinner time the words speak about. This dissolves in chaotic insanity at the end.
We All Lose Someone Sometimes
A piano based number, this is artsy, psychedelic and pretty trippy in weird ways.
An Afterthought
This is a short piece that's largely a spoken voice, but there is also some piano here and there.
Bon Voyage Sweet Chicken
Acoustic guitar and whistling gets this going. The track works out from there into more strange, psychedelically edged art music.
Take A Nap (feat. George Noory)
There is piano in the mix here. This features another of those spoken pieces.
An Unauthorized Interview
More trippy psychedelia meets folk and art rock, this piece works pretty well. That said, it's still really strange.
Be Resurrected Tonight
Art music with folk and psychedelia in the mix, some parts of this give me a David Bowie meets OutKast vibe, as odd as that sounds.
The Silver Lining (feat. George Noory)
There are some non-lyrical sung vocals as this gets underway. We also have some mellow music in the mix. We also get another spoken piece. It sums up the whole pandemic experience, or tries to, and works to leave us with a positive message from it all.
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