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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Pilgrim Speakeasy

A Ruff Guide To..Pilgrim Speakeasy

Review by Gary Hill

Pilgrim Speakeasy albums are always cool. They also always seem to straddle the line between psychedelic hard rock and progressive rock. This one, though, seems to have some real jazz in it, too. It’s arguably the most adventurous and successful album in the Pilgrim Speakeasy catalog. Of course, that’s the sign of a successful disc, better than the previous one.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 3 at

Track by Track Review

This screams in with a hard edged classic rock sound. It works out to a killer jam that’s got funk, psychedelia and some odd prog all stirred into a musical stew. It’s almost like Red Hot Chili Peppers, Prince, Sly Stone and Living Colour assembled together in a prog-oriented band. There’s a killer funk jam around the two and a half minute mark.

Custome & Exersize
Featuring some of the same influences as the previous piece, this cut is really almost fusion. There are bits of Frank Zappa to be heard here, too. There is a cool funky section on this.
Indonesian Childhood Favourite

Hard rock merged with psychedelia and Zappa-like weirdness, this is an oddly infectious tune. There’s a killer spacey groove later, too. In way there are hints of Pink Floyd at points on this. It really is a cool jam.

Keyboards dominate this acid-induced tune. It’s kind of like a club meets prog sound.
(Who Wants to Breathe?)
This is just a little spoken word bit.
Abandoned Baggage
Pounding in with a dramatic powerhouse sound, this is, in a lot of ways more purely prog than some of the other stuff. There’s still some Zappa to be heard here along with psychedelia. The vocals are essentially a spoken journey. It’s one of the coolest cuts on the set. It’s strange, but oddly catchy. The lyrics certainly earn a parental advisory. There’s a cool keyboard dominated jam later in the piece.
(Baggage Reclaim)
This is basically just a short percussive piece.
Zeros & Ones
Vocals merge with percussion in this odd little piece. It’s kind of jazzy (in a scat way) but very processed and very strange – yet cool. Around the two minute mark a funky bass line enters and takes it in new directions.
Carbon Vs Silicon
Feeling a bit twisted and dark, in the introductory segment, it’s pretty, but weird. Then it shifts out to a funky Frank Zappa-like jam that’s very tasty. Later it turns to something closer to the opening number.
An acoustic section opens this and holds it for a while. Then it turns a bit weird and space before powering out to a hard-edged jam based around musical concepts similar to the rest of the album. It works out later to a more classic rock oriented jam that, for some reason, feels a bit like The Stones at times to me.
Dream Boat
Here’s a cut that’s very jazz oriented. It turns out to more crazed psychedelic rock territory as it continues, though. Sound effects eventually serve as the ending, a bit like a jungle beach.
End of the Line
Bass opens things up here and percussion joins and the track begins building gradually. Around the two minute mark it powers out into a harder rocking jam. This cut really works through a number of changes and has some different moods and motifs as it continues. It’s a cool jam with a tasty bass line. This is one of the most dynamic and tasty pieces on show.
Keyboards and a pounding rhythm section serves as the backdrop as a distorted voice intones. Then it crunches out into a hard rock meets fusion kind of sound and we’re off into a jam that’s closer to the rest of the set. Eventually this powers out into an anthemic jam that’s amongst the coolest music here. It’s heavy and, perhaps not that proggy, but very tasty.
The Mistake
Textural music is accompanied by a spoken debate in this short cut.
Vine of Souls
This is a reprise of an earlier tune. It’s quite proggy and quite cool.
High Without the High
A weird piece, this is basically a vocal loop with sound bites and some percussion.
A hard rocking groove, this does a great job of combining psychedelia with progressive rock.
(A word From Aldous)
This is a brief spoken word piece.
Strange & Beautiful
Seriously funky and cool, this is quite tasty.
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