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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

The Source (California, USA)

Prickly Pear

Review by Gary Hill

I’m a big fan of The Source’s debut disc. It combined catchy Beatles-like pop with progressive rock to create an intriguing soundscape. Well, this album continues in that vein, but leans more heavily on the pure prog rock stylings. Their mix is still fresh and unique, but you’ll also hear plenty of elements that remind you of other acts, too. If you liked the first disc, you’ll love this one.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2009  Volume 2 at

Track by Track Review
Promised Land
They open this with a nearly ten minute epic – and this is not even the second longest cut on show here. The expansive opening jam alone on this is almost two minutes in length. It’s got healthy heapings of Pentwater, Yes, ELP and Genesis. They drop it down to a verse section that reminds me a bit of Jellyfish in its pop oriented sounds, but I can also hear the first couple Yes albums. They work this out through some more purely progressive rock oriented jamming as they alternate vocal movements with short instrumental bursts. If at any point you don’t like where this track is, just wait. They’ll move somewhere else in short order. There’s even an extended instrumental jam that takes on some seriously fusion-like sounds at times. We are also treated to a Rush-like section and some nearly classical motifs during the course of this. There’s also a section that reminds me of The Dregs. They even give us a bit of 1960’s styled psychedelia as the closing section.
Star Dreamer
From an epic to the shortest cut on show, this one weighs in at less than six minutes. When they open this it feels a bit like Genesis, but they move it out towards jazzy movements from there. Then we get some other shifts and alterations in dramatic changes and moods. Once more they have produced an intriguing and diverse musical composition. This takes us through a lot of varying moods and themes.
Until Morning Time
The introductory jam is more keyboard laden than some of the other music. I can hear Wakeman solo along with ELP on this movement. When they take us out to the vocal section, though, I’d consider it much closer to Flash. There’s a more guitar-dominated jam later, but they continue to alter and change this. In many ways it’s my favorite cut on show here. Sure, it’s more in a ballad-like format than some of the stuff, but then again, it’s quite evocative and powerful and seems more cohesive and consistent than some of the other music. I do love the bouncing sort of jam that’s a bit like Pentwater meets Genesis. They create some really intriguing and beautiful music later in the course of this. We get more early Yes and Flash as they carry on later. There’s also a rather Beatles like segment late in the cut (this one’s almost twelve minutes in length).
Thin Air
A keyboard-dominated sound opens this up and the group move out into some more music that reminds me of Flash. They take it out from there into some more accessible, pop-oriented sounds. This is another diverse and dynamic cut, though, as they work through a series of themes and alterations.
Castles in the Sky
This time around they bring us in with more of a modern neo-prog sound, in a fairly guitar oriented zone. We get some killer soaring, Fripp-like elements later as they drop the backing motif down. It moves out after a while into some mellow ballad-like music and they get rather Beatles-like, but perhaps closer to Klaatu as they carry on. Then it works out toward other sounds and we get a piano dominated mellower interlude before they begin the next vocal section. As they build this out it gets a bit Genesis-like at times. It is evocative and also calls to mind The Flower Kings. Around the nine-minute mark (at over fifteen minutes in length this epic is the most massive track here) they take us into an ELP meets Genesis-like jam that turns at times towards Pentwater and Yes. They take it out through a series of instrumental sections and when it drops back to the next emotional ballad-like section I’m reminded of Spock’s Beard. They take us into a jazzy motif for a short time after that. The climbing closing movement really reminds me a lot of something from The Yes Album.
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