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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Lila Rose

Heart Machine

Review by Gary Hill

This is an interesting album that sort of defies classification. Parts of this feel like the type of progressive rock practiced by bands like Porcupine Tree. Other parts are closer to the music of Kate Bush or Tori Amos. Still other points on the CD feel almost like club music. Electro-pop is another valid reference. The sounds of Laurie Anderson certainly come to mind at times. This nearly got dropped into the progressive rock category here at MSJ, but ultimately I decided that there was more music here that didn’t fit into prog than did. The thing is; this is all quite interesting and entertaining.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2012  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Obsession

Dramatic keyboards open this and the cut builds out from there. It feels a bit like something from Porcupine Tree, atmospheric and powerful moody music. The vocals really drive this piece. The percussion is noteworthy here and this piece is really a progressive rock number in terms of the overlayers of sound. It’s arguably the strongest tune here.

Heart Machine (feat. Lynx)
The arrangement on the title track is not as lush, but rather built more on the percussion, at least at first. After a time it powers out a bit more. It’s a track that has some connection to groups like No-Man musically. While it might not be as strong as the opener, the multiple layers of vocals and other elements make this one quite potent. There’s a bit of a shift later in the tune, taking it to a more dramatic arrangement and the vocal performance really shines there.
Like Champagne
More percussive in nature, this one is closer to some of the modern urban music. Still, there are enough melodic touches here to bring this into more of a progressive direction.
Casting Shadows (feat. Eric Denniston)
This number starts off with a dramatic and beautiful atmospheric sound. It powers out from there in one of the most accessible melodies of the whole disc. There is definitely a modern progressive rock sound here and this is another highlight of the album.
Lost Your Senses
There’s a real bouncy modern pop meets urban sound here. The lyrics get a parental advisory. There’s no question this one would be at home in dance clubs.
Unbroken
There’s a more stripped down approach here. This isn’t all that far removed from the kind of music Tori Amos often does. It’s also similar to some of Kate Bush’s material. It’s understated, but also powerful. There is a more intricate and lush section later in the piece.
Give You My All
A delicate, nearly symphonic sound creates the musical motif for this gentle piece.
Get Gone Again
This piece has a more techno approach and is symphonic in some ways. It’s not that far from something like Laurie Anderson. It works out to more progressive rock oriented material later, though, but with an organic, almost symphonic approach.
Bang Bang
More percussive in nature, this is dramatic, but also fairly mellow. Sure, the percussion pounds away at times, but the music is still mellow. Some of the vocals have an almost Laurie Anderson style processing on them.
In The Dimmest
Here we get another tune that combines Laurie Anderson styled electronica with pop music.
Couldn't Have
There’s sort of a tribal groove to the percussion on this piece. It’s got a real club feeling to it, too.
And The Beat
Here we have a bouncy number that, appropriately, focuses a lot of attention on the beat. It’s not that far removed from the other music here. This is a cool tune that again feels at times a bit like something Kate Bush would do musically.
 
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