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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Captain Beyond

Sufficiently Breathless

Review by Gary Hill

During their short career Captain Beyond only released three albums. I’ve already reviewed their self-titled debut and this is the second one. I wouldn’t put either of the other two in the realm of progressive rock, but this one I would. It just sort of ups the prog ratio – which was present on that first disc – enough to get them into that category. Just like that debut, there is not a weak track on show here. This is one of those albums that works best when you spin it from beginning to end.


This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2009  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Sufficiently Breathless
Essentially an upbeat and folk rock oriented balladic number; they bring some electric guitar in at the end for a more prog rock approach on the instrumental section mid-track.
Bright, Blue Tango
As there was on the last number, there’s quite an active percussion line. This track has a motif that’s more in keeping with the group’s debut, though. It’s very proggy and powerful. While the opener did a great job leading things off, this really ups the ante nicely. It’s fairly fast paced and spacey, but also quite catchy. There’s almost a Beatles-like vibe to part of this and they include a cool false ending before a powered up ‘70’s rock jam takes over.
Drifting In Space
There’s an almost Latin feeling to the percussion on this and at times you might hear Santana in the mix. That said, this is even more progressive rock oriented than the last two number. It’s also very high energy and continues the trend of upping the ante from one number to the next. There’s a jazzy sort of instrumental segment on this. 
Evil Men
Much more in keeping with the sounds that were presented on the group’s debut disc, this has an almost bluesy texture and is a hard-edged rocker with a soulful groove to it. This is the first track on this album where I don’t really hear any progressive rock in the mix. There’s a cool little percussion solo and then a tasty (if a bit dated in sound these days) guitar solo. 
Starglow Energy
We’re back into prog rock type territory here. This is the first slow song on the disc. It’s pretty and powerful. The first portion of the track is mellow and full of drama and mystery. They shift it out into a more rocking format, but it’s still at a slow pace. Guitar takes the lead on this section while the keyboards that dominated the first part are still prominent. Although many might think of this as an understated number I consider it one of the best songs on the CD. I really love this one. It’s got a great building throughout and gets pretty intense before they close it out. 
Distant Sun
Take the spacey hard rock of the first album and up the progressive rock quotient. You’ve got this track. More than anything else on this disc “Distant Sun” feels like it might have been recorded at the same time as the self-titled album. There’s a cool prog rock interlude in the middle of this. It’s mellower and again has a bit of a Latin texture to the groove of the rhythm section. There’s an almost Santana like jam later in the number. 
Voyages Of Past Travelers
“People, the time is upon us,” so begins this track. Well, you probably can’t tell because they slow this thing way down. I know because in the old days of vinyl I found that if you played the 33 RPM record at 78 you could understand what they were saying. And, OK, it was a bit of a stretch to say that because actually a drone like an airplane engine and the sounds of sirens and other effects are the first things heard. Sound effects and a slowed down spoken monologue make up this odd, but also very cool, number. This is fairly short and basically serves as an intro to the next track – which flows right out of this one. 
Everything's A Circle
There’s a great psychedelic groove to this and it’s another with some seriously jazzy sounds in its midst. This is a great tune. They power it out later with a motif that’s closer to something from the group’s debut, yet the same themes remain and this is still far more proggy and has a lot more prominent percussion texture.
 
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