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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Sacha Sacket

Lovers & Leaders

Review by Gary Hill

I nearly put this one in the progressive rock section. Sackett’s style of moody pop rock is not that dissimilar from some of Porcupine Tree’s work or that of modern Marillion. Ultimately, though, I decided that while some songs lean pretty heavily towards modern prog the overall effect is great modern pop. Sackett does it as well as any of them and fans of artists like John Mayer would be well advised to check out this disc.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2008  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Hail
Piano based, this is pretty and powerful. It gains layers of sound as it carries on and is reborn later in the track with a guitar based approach. This is a lovely way to start off the CD. The whole thing is worked out later into something that to me combines the best of Elton John with an arrangement not unlike Porcupine Tree.
Judy (for shame)
A more stripped down acoustic guitar sound leads this off. The vocals join and this is sort of a singer songwriter folk rock tune. When it moves out to the chorus this reminds me of something from John Mayer or a similar artist. This is catchy.

Stay
An unusual sound motif starts this off. It’s either keyboards or some sort of studio trick. It’s a bouncing sort of melody that serves as the backdrop for the first vocals of the track. Then we get a more traditional piano based melody for the next section, but still there are other elements here. The cut moves back to another segment with the weirder sounds and then we get more piano. This is an unusual piece that still manages to be very catchy.
Halo
Backwards tracked sound effects skirt around a more basic pop rock song structure. This is built up into another powerfully evocative piece of music. A cool keyboard solo serves as the backdrop for some of the vocals later – and one of the proggy segments of the disc.
Brandon Boyd
“We are the cool kids.” These words start this one out. Who hasn’t wanted to say that? Of course, it turns into a dark dream.  This is a rocking song. It’s a powerful piece of music and one of my favorites on the CD. This has some sections of weirdness amidst its course, too.
Maybe You Can Save Me (from you)
This is a beautifully lush song that’s very catchy. The piano work on this is quite intricate and raises it beyond plain pop.

How Low?
Here we get a pretty pop song that’s very strong. It’s rather moody.

Jove
Based on a keyboard and evocative vocal arrangement, the piano on this one is exceptionally intricate and beautiful. This is one of the more proggy moments of the CD. It’s also one of the highlights of the album.
What You Are
This is a more energetic outing with a classic modern pop rock sound.
Hallowed (Show Me How)
Sackett slows it down with this beautiful balladic piece. It becomes more soaring and anthemic as it carries on.
Time To Go
The festivities are ended by this beautiful, if moody, balladic piece that calls to mind John Mayer.
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