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Starfish64

The Future in Reverse

Review by Gary Hill

This is quite an effective set. It has a good balance between shorter pieces and epic suites. Similarly the balance between modern and classic progressive rock is effective, too. This does have a tendency toward the mellower, moody stuff, but there is enough variety to keep it from being an issue. This is decidedly mainstream and melodic, and it's quite solid.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2018  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Yesterday's Favourite Smile
Starting rhythmically, this builds outward from there. There is a dreamy kind of vibe that feels like modern prog acts like Porcupine Tree, RPWL, The Pineapple Thief and more. There are some hints of things like The Beatles and Pink Floyd here. There is a decidedly pleasant mainstream texture to this piece.
Tomorrow in Dark Water
There is a healthy helping of David Gilmour styled music here. Add in some hints of modern electronic prog. While this has an AOR mainstream vibe to it, too, it's not as much the driving factor as it was on the opener. There is more meaty prog on the bones of this number. The guitar based instrumental section later is intricate and so cool. As strong as the opener was, this definitely surpasses it.
Determination
Nearly 13 minutes long, this is a multipart epic suite. It comes in with a great melodic prog groove that has equal ties to classic and modern prog. It grows outward with style and finesse. There are some cool moods and textures. The vocals work particularly well, and I really love the guitar fills on this. There is a space rock element at play to some degree. It drops to a mellower section with some sound bites that sound like people talking on a TV perhaps. The vocals return for a bit of a dreamy section before it shifts to electronics around the eight and a half minute mark. Keyboards dominate the track for a while from there. As it makes its way back out to a song proper it has a lot in common with the earlier parts of the song. Vocals come in over the top in style. That segment eventually takes this to its closing.
Molehills
We're into more of the moody modern prog stylings here. This has a cool groove and flow to it. There is a real 80s sort of element to this, too - linked to the electronic pop of that era. I dig the melodic guitar work on this track a lot.
Charting an Abyss
The closer is another multipart suite. This one is the real epic of the set, running over 18 minutes. It starts with the sounds of children playing. Mellow instrumental textures comes in from there. The vocals come in slow and rather thoughtful over the top of that backdrop. As it grows outward from there it becomes a bit more rocking with some cool slide guitar coming over the top. That peaks and drops away, bringing us back into acoustic guitar based territory. It is intricate and topped with keyboard textures. The next vocals come in over the top of that backdrop, continuing the concepts from before. It eventually builds outward, but shifts toward different mellow textures further down the road. After some pretty steady evolution, it powers out into a section that makes me think of the Elton John band's proggiest period for a short bit around the eight minute mark. After another mellower movement, it returns to that. It works from there to trippy, more sedate Pink Floyd like stuff for a transition. Then it drops to even more sparse spacey elements. Electric guitar is heard just under the surface, threatening to bring a more rocking element. It eventually starts to rise up lending a more powered up, but still slow and melodic prog texture. The cut shifts back toward more electronic pop styled sounds to continue. It works through several changes as it continues, with that mellower moody prog concept dominating. By around the 17 minute mark it drops to a piano based section, and the vocals work over the top of that. It's quite pretty and mellow. That section eventually takes it to the end with a little dramatic ambience serving as the final sound.
 
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