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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Siena Root

Far From The Sun

Review by Gary Hill

If you are a fan of the 1970’s perhaps you should think about moving to Sweden. I can’t speak to anything but the music, but if you follow the sounds that come out of that country you’d really think that it’s 1973. This album is a classic example. It’s some of the most impressive 1970’s rock that wasn’t written, recorded and released until the 21st Century. Fans of any of the bluesy hard rock of that era would be strongly advised to pick this up.

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
Dreams of Tomorrow

A killer classic rock riff leads this one off. They launch out into an awesome retro groove. This feels like it could have come from 1976. It’s a lot like The Lizards or even The Black Crowes. The instrumental section later reminds me of something that combine Captain Beyond and Black Sabbath.

Waiting for the Sun
From the opening sounds it’s obvious that this song is going to be laced with some serious 1960’s psychedelia. Flowers and beads and incense smoke are merged with a more hard rock element here. Sitar comes across here and there. This is another that reminds me a bit of Captain Beyond at times. It gets pretty intense as it is built up. They take it out to a more pure rocking segment later that’s closer to the first piece, but then launch out into a full psychedelia trip.
Time Will Tell
Here’s a smoking bluesy jam. This is sort of Led Zeppelin meets Cream and ZZ Top. There’s some smoking guitar on it. They work through a series of hard-edged segments and then drop it way down to a proggy sort of mellow section. This is another great piece of music. It’s one of the most dynamic tracks on the disc and one of my favorites. There’s a great Zeppelin meets Captain Beyond jam later, too.
Almost There
Another hard-edged rocker, this one fires out of the gate and then works through a change or two before settling in for the verse. I can detect some Captain Beyond in this musical mix, too. The funky wah guitar solo on this is especially tasty. They drop this down to a pure blues grind later that is very much in a Led Zeppelin-like motif. They fire out into a scorching expansive jam after this that’s quite progressive rock oriented. At nearly eight minutes in length this is one of the longest cuts. It’s also one of the most dynamic and one of my favorites.
Two Steps Backwards
A killer riff leads off here and we’re very much in a Zeppelin motif as the vocals join. Bad Company also comes to mind. You might also pick up on a little vintage Uriah Heep in terms of tone.
Wishing for More

Drums lead off here and then they launch into another killer classic rock riff. The overall motif isn’t changed much here, but this is just another smoking slab of retro tunage. We do get a harmonica solo on this, adding to the bluesy nature. In fact, this is one of the most purely blues-like pieces on show here.

The Summer Is Old
They start this off with a great bass sort of texture, reminding me a bit of old-school Black Sabbath. They pound in with a stoner rock type sound that is again well rooted in Sabbath. From there, though, they shift out into a mellower, rather psychedelic sound for the verse. This gets a bit of a proggy treatment as other layers are added. We get more hard edged Sabbath-like sounds later, but as flute floats across it seems more like Jethro Tull. In fact, I’d peg a lot of this song as somewhat like early Tull. There is a killer Deep Purple-like section later complete with organ solo. There’s a drum solo in the middle of this, too. At eight minutes in length this is the second longest piece on show. It’s also one of my favorites.
The Break of Dawn
Coming in with a bit of funky motif, this is a bit understated, at least at first. When it launches out into the careening fast paced jam, though, I’m again reminded of Jethro Tull. In fact, there are several sections to this that are quite firmly prog rock related. This is a diverse and dynamic instrumental and if the whole album were closer to this it would land in the “progressive rock category.” This is pretty awesome and intriguing music.
Long Way From Home

They close the disc with this ten-plus minute mini-epic. It starts with keys that call to mind Vanilla Fudge and Deep Purple’s “Child In Time.” The slow building concept of those types of music are definitely present here, but I also catch bits of Procol Harum and Uriah Heep at points. The harder edged segment that takes it around the three minute mark is particularly trademark vintage Heep. This is very much in keeping with progressive rock styles. It’s also my favorite song on the disc and a great way to end it on a really high note.

 
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