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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Western Civ

Regent Kingfish Slumberpad

Review by Gary Hill

This is probably not the tightest fit into progressive rock. That said, it is certainly very much in the mode of the more modern, noisy, experimental form of prog – like Radiohead. So, here it is. The disc is an intriguing one and the band’s sound, while drawing from other acts to a degree, is quite original. This is a short disc at only around twenty minutes in length. It’s not for everyone, but it’s quite interesting.

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
Got The #
I’ll say right off the bat that the first part of this song is hard for me to listen to. So are a few other portions to a lesser degree. Those who are heavily into RIO will do better. The reason is sort of a sixty cycle hum. It’s actually a feedback but it’s about like nails on a chalk board to me. They bring this up and it stays around for the first set of vocals. There are recurrent examples that aren’t as loud or long in duration. Overall this is somewhat psychedelic combination of noisy alternative rock and space rock. If not for that one portion I’d really like this a lot because it’s quite an unusual piece of music that’s very quirky.
Of Her Many Newfound Splendors
A rather unique musical vision makes up this one. It has similar textures to the last one, save the noisy stuff that bothered me. This is punky but also has an alternative progressive rock feel to it.
Stingray Blanket
A psychedelia meets alternative rock texture is presented here in a fairly mellow cut. This is the most melodic music we’ve heard here so far.

There's No I in Team (but There Is a Me)
At just a little over a minute in length this is the shortest piece on show here. It’s also the least prog. In fact, I’d call this one a pure punk tune – or at least nearly so. There are a few overtones that call to mind modern King Crimson and a few weirdly twisting riffs. This is probably the one that will have the prog purists running for the nearest exit.
Engine #3
In some ways this reminds me of Radiohead or even Smashing Pumpkins. There are some sounds here that fall in closer to King Crimson or Tool, though. It’s an interesting cut – far from the fastest one on show here. It’s also one of my favorites. Weird spoken elements with noisy effects end this.
Sunday Punch
A melodic ballad-like structure leads this off. They work through some variations on this and rise up with crunchy sounds after a time. The alternating mellower and more rocking pattern reminds me a bit of Radiohead. This gets quite dramatic and powerful at times. They take it out into an expansive, spacey jam mid track. This gives way to a harder edged motif with a screaming guitar solo. They bring this back into the more melodic territory and this is probably the most blatantly prog song on the disc. It’s also the longest at almost seven minutes in length.
 
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