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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

The Beatenpath

Solace

Review by Gary Hill

Sisters Lena Boone and Gwen Beyer come by musical talent through their DNA. Their father is Jerry Yester of The Lovin’ Spoonful. So, it should be no surprise they’ve created a strong album. Just how strong, though, might be unexpected. This will likely make the “best of 2012” list of some reviewers. The music seems to be tied closely to the modern progressive rock of groups like Porcupine Tree, but with female vocals that often beg comparisons to Clannad and Enya.

This is a nearly perfect release, and every song shines. It would have been nice to have a song or two with a bit more energy in the tempo department to break a sometimes too similar tempo pattern. Still, when a disc is this strong, that’s only a minor observation.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2012  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Nights on Broadway
There’s a jazzy electronica texture on the introduction of “Nights on Broadway.” From there, the cut (a cover of a Bee Gees song) takes on a slow, subdued, yet lush melodic progressive rock texture. It’s pretty and works quite well in this treatment. It helps to set the tone with a melody that should be familiar to many.
Nights on Broadway
There’s a jazzy electronica texture on the introduction of “Nights on Broadway.” From there, the cut (a cover of a Bee Gees song) takes on a slow, subdued, yet lush melodic progressive rock texture. It’s pretty and works quite well in this treatment. It helps to set the tone with a melody that should be familiar to many.
Lights Out
The pace of “Lights Out” is almost dirge-like. The sound, though, is lush and electronic. Comparisons to Enigma would be appropriate. Still, the vocals, with effective multiple layers, have a rather soulful edge
Recluse
Dramatic and tastefully synthetic, the first verse of “Recluse” is set in a stripped down electronic arrangement. As other sounds and textures are added beyond that point it resembles the modern progressive rock of groups like Porcupine Tree.
I Heard Between
Keyboards open this with an almost classical approach. More electronic and pop sounds are added to the mix to lay down the background for the first vocals. Still, the classical texture remains. After that first vocal section, it gets a more organic, folk rock meets prog style. There’s a great moody vibe to it, too.
Never Be the Same Again
In many ways, “Never Be the Same Again” isn’t a big change. The vocal melodies, though, are haunting and among the best here. There’s a slow moving tempo and some great waves of modern progressive rock in the mix. Still, Enya wouldn’t be a bad comparison. A more rhythmic sound is added later along with some decidedly electronic backing vocals that are most likely loops.
Where I Rest – Sleep Now My Darling
The motif that opens “Where I Rest – Sleep Now My Darling” has an almost Pink Floyd-like bombast, but the layers of sound bring a rather symphonic meets electronic progressive rock sound to the table. Again Clannad or Enya are valid references in terms of the vocals, but the ethereal, dreamy nature of the music is powerful. Somehow parts of the later arrangement even call to mind Procol Harum a bit. When it shifts out to the second titled section, it might be the best movement of the whole disc. An intricate and beautiful piano arrangement serves as the backdrop for some of the most captivating and haunting vocals here.
Nightmare Man
This continues the modern electronic progressive rock styles. There are some soulful vocals in the mix and the cut, while not really a standout, is quite strong.
Waiting
“Waiting” has a great rhythmic vibe along with a more pure electronic arrangement. It gets more organic textures added later. It is one of the most energized pieces on show. After the piece ends, an electronic, symphonic arrangement serves as reprise of its themes.
Grown Over
There’s a dark and foreboding texture to the opening of “Grown Over.” The vocals serve to soften that effect. Then a short acoustic guitar part threatens to take the piece in new directions. Instead they bring in a more powered up electronic arrangement. Then piano enters after a time and there are a few lines of vocals delivered with that as the only accompaniment. This is somber and also quite pretty. It has quite a bit of change built in and is arguably the most like something from Porcupine Tree of anything here.
Illusion of Mistake
A tribal-like rhythmic section opens this and somehow early parts call to mind The Eurythmics. As it rocks out more that fades away. This is one of the most rock-oriented pieces here and also one of the most organic and there seems to be a lot of world music built into it.
My Addiction
World music merges with rock and electronic on “My Addiction.” It’s another standout piece, but almost everything here seems to earn that tag. There is even some sitar on the tune. It includes a short keyboard and vocal balladic section as the closing bit.
Who Am I Then
The closing cut is moody and yet somehow triumphant in alternating sections. It has more classic progressive rock in it than anything else here does. The piece is quite a dynamic and strong one and a great closing salvo.
 
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