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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Spirits Burning & Bridget Wishart


Review by Gary Hill

It seems that Spirits Burning’s sound is a very diverse thing. With this album the more familiar space rock elements are joined with jazz, psychedelia and even dance club music. The thing about Spirits Burning is, no matter how different each disc is from the others in the catalogue, it’s always entertaining.

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Track by Track Review
Eye of the Day

There’s a rhythmically dominated electronic meets prog sound to this tune. The vocals come in over the top of this after a time. They are a little distant in the mix. At times Wishart whispers and at other points she sings. This cut could almost pass as some kind of dance club number. They turn it to a killer groove later.

We get a cool retro element to this piece. It’s like a space rock meets progressive rock arrangement based on some vintage garage band sound. This has tons of energy and is both catchy and quirky. I like this one a lot. There’s a jazz dominated bit mid-track and this turns more towards space rock from there. Later on they give us a flute solo before a more distorted segment takes it. A killer guitar solo is heard beyond that.
Midas Touch

There’s a weird electronic sound with a jazz sort of twist to this. It’s sort of more rhythmic than melodic and the vocals that skate over the top are rather haunting. This gets more jazz-like as it moves out from that first section. Still, after that movement, it works out towards music more like the opening movement before dissolving to even more spacey territory. 

This really feels like the noisy, keyboard dominated, electronica styled segment of Hawkwind music. It’s got mostly spoken vocals in multiple layers and weird bits of sound dancing over the rhythmic backdrop. There are a couple short excursions into different types of sounds.
Rocket to the End of the Line
The Hawk-like space sounds are still here, but mixed with something more like a Todd Rundgren kind of arrangement. This is both odd and catchy at the same time. It features both female and male vocals and different instruments lead the festivities at different times. This is a cool piece of music that just oozes charm. It works down to spacey keyboard sounds for the ending section.
Heavens Hide
There’s a definite pop rock sound for the main structure of this tune. It’s got more of that space rock texture over the top, though. There is an awesome bass line at times on this tune.
Symphonic elements meet psychedelia pop music and space rock.
Queen of Ghosts
While in some ways this doesn’t differ from the previous tune all that much, there’s some killer guitar soloing over the top of this and the musical motif here is quite cool.
This one’s got more of an electronic groove to it. It’s another cool tune.
Follow Me
Based with an acoustic guitar melody, this feels like a folk rock meets space rock tune. It’s got some intriguing sounds over the top of it.
Mistress of the Age
Mellow space merges with Indian-like world music. This is a cool cut that works really well. It’s got some cool bass work in the background and features the same type of sounds that make this set consistent while really establishing itself as a psychedelic kind of tune that is unique.
Mother of the Dragon
There’s more of an open jazzy element to this combined with more of that psychedelic space texture. This is cool, but one of the weirdest cuts on show. It’s also one of the least effective. Still, I like it. It just pales a bit in comparison to the rest of the stuff.
Lady Jane
Mellow motifs with world and psychedelic tones merge in this pretty, but slightly off-kilter tune. I particularly like Wishart’s vocal performance here. There’s a false ending followed by a reprise with flute taking the melody line. It’s a nice touch.
Holding Hands
Organic, and yet space oriented, this is a slow moving and delicate number that’s quite pretty. It has some symphonic elements in the mix. The bass runs in intriguing ways later.
Silene's Light
This one’s more of a rock tune and seems to combine the organic elements that dominate the disc with something closer to the hard rocking side of Hawkwind. There is some cool guitar soloing over the cut. This is particularly true in the soaring instrumental section later in the tune.
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