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Karney

No Mercy

Review by Gary Hill

Karney consistently releases intriguing music. Her sound is typically hard to pin down, but lands closest to progressive rock. That said, there is music here that's not prog. I have to say that I question the choice for opener because if there is a song that doesn't work as well as the rest, that's it. The closing section of the album is the strongest, too.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2018  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
No Mercy
This comes in with a classic hard edged progressive rock sound. It shifts down to a more stripped back arrangement for the vocals. The chorus powers up to some soaring material. The verse feels a bit awkward, but the chorus really redeems the track with plenty to spare. The guitar solo is hard rocking and particularly cool.
Wild Green

A fairly mellow movement opens this cut with some middle Eastern elements at play. It powers out to harder rocking sounds that lean toward metal. The balance between the hard-edged and less crunchy here works really well. There are male spoken vocals almost more as sound bites on this. The whole cut is a lot more effective than the opener was. Somehow the guitar soloing makes me think of Huw Lloyd Langton's work in Hawkwind to a large degree.

Restless Wind

Starting with a mellower, intricate musical motif, there is a lot of folk in the mix here. This cut is not as proggy as the previous numbers were. It has more of a folk rock (with even some country in the mix) sound to it. It's a solid number, though. It's quite effective. The rocking guitar solo is noteworthy. When it starts rocking out more it's along the lines of electric folk rock.

Same Song

While there is a lot of folk rock in the mix here, too, this works more into the prog end of the spectrum. When it soars out to the more powerful stuff, that prog aspect is clearer yet. Again the guitar solo is so strong.

I Got Mine
There is a real punky vibe to this stomper. It feels a lot like Blondie to me. The mid-track section still has that same element, but it does get a bit more prog-like. This is screaming hot and topical.
Speed of a Bullet
The basis of this is hard rocking, but there are these crazed prog sections built into it. I suppose that I'd consider the song proper to be sort of an AOR prog sound. The breaks are so cool. They remind me a bit of Frank Zappa. The second part of this is more based on that crazed section, but it drops to more melodic stuff at the end.
Not Lost
Coming in mellower and more folk music based, this works out gradually. It gets a bit more rocking and prog based as it does so.
Hold On
A faster paced rocker, this also makes me think of Blondie. It is definitely not the proggiest thing here, but there are some hints of prog in the mix at times.
Beautiful Day
I dig this tasty rocker. It has a lot of folk music in the mix along with some prog and other rocking elements. The closing section is really powerful.
I Got the Light

A fairly fast paced, but melodic, jam opens this. Horns come across as the song is moved into decidedly progressive rock (albeit jazz based) territory. The guitar soloing really dances all over the place in some killer patterns. I love the fact that there are still guitar fills underway during some of the vocal sections. The horn section gets control of a breakout movement, too. This might be my favorite piece here. It's just so cool.

Manifest Destiny
A fast paced tune, this one has the progressive rock tendencies wrapped all around it. It's another highlight of the disc. There is a short excursion into space rock mid track.
9 Lines - In the 21st Century
A hard edged tune, this slower than the previous cut. To some degree this cut makes me think of Nico and the Velvet Underground. A male vocal later in the piece brings hints of hip hop, but the piece is clearly hard rock based. There are definitely leanings toward space rock and psychedelia. This is another standout. Given the intensity of it, it's a great choice for closing shot.
 
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