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Last Charge of the Light Horse

The Sand Reckoner

Review by Gary Hill

This act is intriguing. They have a lot of roots music in the mix. In fact, one of their previous releases I reviewed was essentially folk music. With the second release I covered, and this one, they land more in the prog rock zone. This is prog of the modern alternative rock influenced vein of prog, though. And, I'd add that not every song is prog, but the bulk of the set fits. Whatever you call this, though, it's an intriguing musical ride from start to finish.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2020  Volume 6. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2020.

Track by Track Review
Just Once
Firing right into it, this is an energetic number. It has plenty of retro rock stylings, but it also moves into prog zones. There are some almost shoegaze sounds on this. It also has Americana, jazz and more in the mix, though. World music elements are definitely present in some of the melodies here. There are some killer guitar fills built into this. The energy and hooks are great. This is meaty, classy and just so cool.
Back Up the Hill
I love the soaring vocals on this cut. The track has a lot of mainstream rock built into it. Yet, it's also built on powerhouse modern prog that reaches toward the stars. The mellower dropped back section calls to mind The Beatles a bit. 
Choose Now
A percussive element brings this number in. The track works out from there to an arrangement with more of a folk rock vibe rooted in alternative rock.  While this is less proggy than the cuts that came before it, it's no less compelling. I love the way the bass stands out for sections of the piece. There are some jazzy element built into this.
Chocolate and Cherries
Jazz, Americana and alternative rock merge on this number. The song grows and explores sonic space. The bass shines on this cut, too. There are some proggy elements here, but this is another that's more firmly set in the mainstream rock zones.
Running My Finger Along The Scar
The rhythm section opens this and holds it, serving as the backdrop for the vocals. I love the killer bass jamming. Flute dances over the top later on, but the arrangements remains unchanged beyond that addition. As it powers up a bit more in intensity later, horns come across bringing some real jazz prog with them.
Midnight Parking Lot
Dreamy and rich in sound, this one definitely lands more firmly in that modern progressive rock vein. The bass really stands out on this piece, too.
Old Habits

The alternative rock elements are all over this cut. The number has a dreamy quality to it, though. There are some intriguing textures and melodies built into this cut. It has some leanings toward space rock.

Old Habits, New Rabbits
As you might guess, this is essentially an instrumental reprise of the musical themes from the previous number. It's altered, though, with some serious psychedelia added to the mix. I also love how the bass is out front on this short piece.
The Bill Comes Due
Now, this doesn't really have any prog in the mix. It's more of a pure bluesy folk rock. The whole thing makes me think of the kind of song that would have fit on Led Zeppelin's third album. The percussion arrangement on this really stands out.
Balanced On The Edge
Piano starts thing here. As the vocals come across I'm reminded of acts like Radiohead, but also Porcupine Tree. This gets dreamy and trippy. The pedal steel guitar really adds to the sound later.
April Morning
The arrangement on this is packed with symphonic instrumentation. The number is slow moving. It's lush and rather dreamy. This is also decidedly proggy in the newer prog vein. This is full of emotion and style. It's a great choice to close the set.

 

 

 
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