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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Modest Midget

The Great Prophecy of a Small Man

Review by Gary Hill

This is an unusual CD. It’s also likely to be one of my picks for ten best albums of 2010. It’s catchy and quirky. It is both accessible and progressive rock. It should appeal to both modern prog fans and those who prefer the classic period of prog. This is just a great album. I know it is full of short songs, but I find it hard to believe anyone could listen to this and think that it isn’t progressive rock.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2010  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
Follow The Noise

This is just a short and very ambient (at least until at first) piece of sound that serves as the intro.

Contemporary Ache
Pounding in with a motif that calls to mind early Rush in a way, this is catchy and yet very meaty and left-field. It has several fully different sections including one that’s rather Yes-like. I love this song.
Troubles In Heaven
Take a catchy Beatles-like melody and turn it more progressive rock and you will be pretty close to this. There’s some ethnic music and a violin solo in here, too. 
Coffee From Yesterday
This feels very much like early Yes – and yet there is definitely some Beatles within – and I’d pinpoint some Flower Kings, too.
Back From My Trip
Twisting and turning and just plain odd, this song is catchy in a very weird way. It features some almost Crimson-like music at points and then a Genesis-oriented movement, too. We get some more Rush later, as well. 
Home Seek
This is one of the most “straight line” numbers on show. It’s a hard rocker and quite cool. It has some jazzy elements to it, and is still quite proggy, but yet it’s also catchy. 
Here I Go
Take Smashmouth and turn them more progressive rock oriented and you’ll be very much in the neighborhood of this catchy, energetic rocker. There’s a killer guitar solo. 
Baby
I can hear a good deal of Beatles-like ballad in this piece, but there’s also a lot of Porcupine Tree. It’s a unique number that covers a lot of musical ground while seeming cohesive, coherent and accessible.
Jorge Knows How Difficult a Musician's Life Can Be, but then Again, Who Doesn't?
Twisting this way and that, much of this instrumental reminds me of something from Yes’ Fragile album. Still, there are some serious bits of ethnic music in it, too.  There are some bits of Djam Karet or Birdsongs of the Mesozoic sprinkled here and there, too.
Buy Me!
Nothing here is mainstream or overtly “more of the same” but the odd combinations are starting seem normal now and this track just feels like “Modest Midget”. 
Evolution
There is an awful lot of ethnic music here, but also big chunks of Genesis and other elements.
I Came, I Saw, I Left
Bonus points are definitely scored for the title to this track. It is the album’s second (and final) instrumental. It works through with some pretty classic progressive rock styling – and yet there are other pieces to this musical puzzle, too.
The Last Straw
This begins as a balladic cut that is basically just acoustic guitar and vocals. It grows out into something that definitely makes me think (at different points) of Spock’s Beard and The Flower Kings.
 
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