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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Marbin

Breaking the Cycle

Review by Gary Hill

There is clearly a lot of jazz in this musical mix. That’s just sort of the foundation here, though because lots of other sounds are added to this construction. That includes progressive rock, world music, Beatles like pop rock and even alternative rock of acts like Camper Van Beethoven. All are combined into an effective and powerful musical montage that is Marbin.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2013  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Loopy

They start this one in a great jazzy groove. Keyboards solo over the top in tasty ways later. Beyond that, other instruments take the lead here and there in a jam that seems equal parts jazz and melodic progressive rock. This is quite inspiring and powerful and really has some great melodies represented. There’s a drum solo later in the piece and when it comes up out of there, it has almost a surf music vibe mixed into it.

A Serious Man
This one feels more purely set in jazz, but there are still some prog elements to be found. It’s got a lot of energy and some great melodic elements in terms of the soloing.
Mom's Song

Pretty and melodic, this is a slow and gentle progressive rock instrumental with some jazz in the mix. It’s very satisfying and powerful.

Bar Stomp

Imagine taking a fusion meets prog sound and merging it with some bluesy alternative rock. That’s pretty much what this cool tune is. It’s one of the most accessible pieces of the set and almost makes me think of Camper Van Beethoven at times. It’s quite cool.

Outdoor Revolution

World music meets progressive rock and jazz here. There are even some bits that feel a bit Beatles-like. This is pretty, melodic and quite tasty. There is a bit of a European café vibe on hand a lot of the time. I particularly like the dramatic section that takes over at the end.

Western Sky

A fairly mellow and rather soaring cut, this one has some non-lyrical vocals, making it stand out a bit. It’s one of the more evocative pieces and is quite pretty.

Burning Match

More melodic jazzy music, this has some world music themes to it. It’s slow moving, organic and quite pretty. It’s also very dramatic. Around the minute and a half mark, guitar adds a new layer of passion and power to the piece. When the saxophone takes over in soloing fashion, it’s a different sound altogether and the composition has even more energy. This piece is one of my favorites on the set.

Claire's Indigo

The rhythmic element to this piece kind of has a life all its own. There is a bit of a jazz meets early Pink Floyd vibe to the music early on, but the jazz sounds rise up as it continues, taking more of a top of the mix position.

Snufkin

Built on a rock styled song structure, there’s still plenty of jazz in the soloing that comes over the top of this piece. It’s another that’s quite strong and it represents another sound. In a lot of ways, this makes me think of Traffic quite a bit.

Old Silhouette

Here we get more dramatic and melodic progressive rock instrumental music with plenty of jazz in the mix. There is some space rock to be heard here and there, too.

Winds Of Grace

At over eight and a half minutes in length, this is the most epic piece of the set (sort of). It’s also the only song with real vocals. It comes in with a balladic style and those vocals come over with a worldly kind of folk rock approach, almost country at times. The cut is another that makes me think of Traffic a bit. Early King Crimson is another reference as this continues. However you slice it, though, this thing is dramatic and powerful and a great way to end the set in style. There is more of that jazz sound as the instruments solo later in the tune. The reason I said “sort of” about the length of the track is that, after about six and a half minutes it ends. Then there’s some silence before a new melody, mellow, jazzy sounds rises up and takes it in a completely different direction. So that length includes a silent section and this mellow movement at the end that might be seen as a different piece of music. Still, it’s a very classy way to end the album.

 
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