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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Triangle Exception

Cheesesteak Walleye

Review by Tim Jones

Cheesesteak Walleye is an eclectic collection of various sounds and songs.  The sound quality isn't as strong as it could be, but the songs are fun and interesting.  A good portion of the album (the portion that Bilsak was involved in) was done entirely within a three-week period.  Especially interesting is that Doug Darrell lives in Pennsylvania and Steve Wonchoba lives in Minnesota; they put together this album by emailing audio files to each other.

Triangle Exception is influenced by the likes of Genesis, Phish, Blues Traveler, and Todd Rundgren.  On this, their first real album, Doug Darrell plays guitar, bass guitar, and vocals, and Steve Wonchoba plays the prominent keyboards, bass guitar, "drum prog," and vocals.  Dave Bilsak makes an appearance and helps with the writing. In fact, for part of the album, he's a full-fledged member of the band.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2008  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Second Ecstasy
Pretty keyboards are soon joined by drums, guitars, and bass.  The same chords and melody repeat and build, and the music becomes a little harder.  This song is a repetitive instrumental; it ends softly, with non-repetitive piano.
Anna Gonna Miss Ya
Drums start this one out.  The title makes it sound like an old 50's rock song...and that, indeed, is the style of this  It's fun stuff, with some definitely non-50's guitar-play going on.
Chance Meeting
Cool guitars are the order of the day before it quiets down.  Intentionally murky vocals sing against a subtle background of guitar and keyboards.  The vocals alternate between a Simon and Garfunkel sound and alternative.  There are lots of keyboards, including a solo.  The music is reminiscent of early Genesis. 
Schizophrenic
This is a good song.  A good, catchy, chorus makes it similar to the almost-prog pop stuff of the 1980s.  It's unpolished (the vocals aren't always as strong as they could be) but still a gem.  Some fantastic guitars and drums support the vocals.  It ends with repeats of the chorus and then a great guitar solo.
A Minor Desperate Measure
This instrumental starts heavy on keyboards, with playful, moody guitars breaking in occasionally.  Partway through, guitar takes over, and a very cool riff is repeated over and over.  The two instruments close the song together, with the help of a simple drum beat.  The band describes it as "jazzy."
The Foreigner
Keyboards start this one out simply.  This is another good song; another 80's almost-prog song.  It has cool background vocals.  They interrupt the song to experiment extensively with their instruments (ok, so in that respect it's not like an 80's almost-prog song).
Conformity
Slow drums and then hard guitars are joined by two layers of simultaneous vocals.  The background vocals are a bit weak at first, but soon strengthen, and create an interesting contrast with the lead vocals.  The guitars repeat the same chord sequence quite repetitively.  This is very heavy on bass and guitars, and definitely the hardest song on the album.  It ends with a long, drawn-out instrumental section.
Neon, Marooned
Cool distorted vocals start this one out.  The song is then taken over by background spoken words, sometimes hard to hear over the guitars, drums, and keyboards.  It concludes with a little more alternative-style singing and some interesting, experimental, proggy music.
Failed Geyser
Here we have an electric guitar instrumental with drums.  It sounds like it's entirely improvised.  The simple drum contrasts with the crazy guitar. 
Skippy O'Leary
First we get drums, and then the sound you'd expect with a song called "Skippy O'Leary." It has lots of old-time piano sound and rough blues vocals and is a fun tune.
The Revenge Of The Ivory-Billed Woodpecker Suite
If the title didn't somehow give it away, this is a prog song.  From the Triangle Exception website (www.myspace.com/triangleexception): "It was inspired by the CNN.com story entitled 'Robots Assist In Search For Ivory-Billed Woodpecker.' In our 3-part tune, we envision the wily bird as a superior species bent on world domination. We also drew some inspiration from the Genesis tune 'Return Of The Giant Hogweed,' attempting to tell an absurd story in the most pedantic way we could."  Guitars start this one out.  It has a very early-Genesis sound, but the vocals are more 80's almost-prog.  It's also (big surprise) the longest track on the album.  It's their homage to 70's prog; it also happens to be one of the best songs on the album.  Rush influences are very obvious during the instrumental section of the track.  Sometimes, all that's going on is pleasant vocals and pretty keyboards.  Sometimes it's just drums and guitars.  A lengthy instrumental ends the song and the album.
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