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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Otis Infrastructure

In a Room

Review by Gary Hill

This might not be the most obvious choice to go under progressive rock, but I think the mix of sounds and experimental, artsy nature of the music here, lands it there. Speaking of that mix, this incorporates elements of blues rock, alternative, psychedelia, bluegrass, art rock, neo-prog and much more. With a mix like that, how could it fit anywhere other than under progressive rock? Even things that seem fairly simple on the surface, seldom stay there. And, this group is made up of just three people, making it an even more impressive feat. The year has just begun, but this might be a contender for my "best of 2024" list.

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Track by Track Review
In A Room
A cool bluesy rock groove gets things going here. The track works through some intriguing shifts and turns as it continues. There is definitely some funk in the mix. The vocals seem to encompass both alternative rock and psychedelic vibes. The whole tune gets some psychedelic angles added to the mix as it fills in later, too. This is pretty unique and intriguing. It's also quite effective.
Out Of A Room
This feels like it's related to the previous piece as it gets underway. Of course, the title would give that impression. It drops to a mellower movement for the entrance of the vocals. This has an almost proggy vibe in a lot of ways. There are more powered up sections that bring a completely different angle. There are still some trippy psychedelic things here.
Robin Hood
There is a real proggy, art rock vibe at play here. This has alternative rock and other elements built into it, too. Still, it gets decidedly prog-oriented at times. And, it's very unpredictable and dramatic.
Static Unlearned
This track remains on the mellower end of the thing. It's no less creative, but it's a bit less dynamic. There are even some hints of things like bluegrass in some of the instrumentation. This does have some more powered up melodic stuff that leans toward classic rock.
Razor's Edge
Starting with an energetic, rock and roll styled vibe, this gets into other directions as it continues to evolve and grow. Alternative rock and more merge on this track. Yet, it also gets decidedly proggy and even wanders into space rock at points.
String & Vine
Definitely a mellower cut, this has plenty of soft rock built into it. It has a classic rock thing at play, but also a definite proggy angle, particularly late. It makes great use of acoustic guitar, too.
Ballad For A Yesterday
Another that comes in mellower, there is a definite trippy, dreamy vibe at play here. This has a drop back to sedate acoustic stuff, but it also manages to really rock out later. There are definitely prog angles along with some blues rocking ones on the more rocking closing movement to this.
Movie On A Lake
More rocking, this has a lot of psychedelic and neo-prog things at play. The bass work is very intriguing.
Gale Winds
Another energized number, this has plenty of proggy things at play. There is also a definite psychedelic angle along with alternative rock here. I dig the drop back to the rhythm section later, and the keyboards rising up over that lend some magic. Then melodic guitar soloing explodes out with style as it starts to build upward again.
Unclenched Fist
Sitar brings the psychedelia right out of the gate here. After the introduction plays out, this track gets turned into more of an alternative rock arrangement. There are lush, proggy things that come in over the top as it continues. There is a brief lyrical nod to Johnny Cash on this. This makes good use of multiple voices. This is a stripped back section later that has some spoken vocals, too. This track is very dynamic and creative. It has a lot of art music in the mix.
Room (Reprise)
This short, mellower piece is a nice little reprise.
The Red House
On the one hand, this has a pretty basic alternative rock groove. It gets some intriguing prog angles built in, though. It also works out to a pretty crazed section near the end that gets into very experimental territory.


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