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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Curved Air

AirWaves - Live At The BBC Remastered / Live At The Paris Theatre

Review by Gary Hill

Curved Air is really a cool band. I mean, they can get quite mellow, but they also know how to rock out. There are definitely valid comparisons to be made to Jefferson Airplane. Surely there are psychedelic elements at play, too. Always, though, it’s creative and entertaining. This disc shows off some great performances from the group.

 

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
It Happened Today

With a prominent violin part, this thing really powers out in some great ways. It’s a hard rocker with a lot of energy. It’s also quite definitely progressive rock. I dig this cut a lot. A little before the three minute mark it makes a major turn and works out to melodic prog that has some jazz and classical in the mix. That section, remaining purely instrumental, takes the piece to its close.

Propositions / What Happens When You Blow Yourself Up

Firing in hard rocking and quite tasty, this feels so much like Jefferson Airplane turned towards symphonic progressive rock. Then it works out to a jam that has a lot of Led Zeppelin built into it. They drop it down to a section that has more classical and psychedelic music in the mix and the vocals return over that backdrop. There’s some tasty organ soloing in the cut, too. This section is just too cool. It has a great groove, but also lots of jamming that’s creative and yet accessible. They take things to more psychedelic sounds when it starts rocking out again.

Vivaldi

Violin starts this off and holds it for the first fifteen or twenty seconds. Then bass joins, followed by guitar. Soon the entire band is in the mix and this classical- music tinged jam is off and running. Then a minute or so later it drops back to just violin again. As the other instruments rejoin they bring it out into a jam that has both country and psychedelic sounds mixed in with the classical jamming. How’s that for twisting your head around? There is a noisy crescendo that gives way to feedback. That feedback launches them into noisy, trippy psychedelic jamming. Then around three and a half minutes in, they power it out to an extremely weird, psychedelic rock romp and the vocals join. Again, this feels like Jefferson Airplane, but arguably some of the wildest, weirdest Jefferson Airplane you’ll ever hear. They take it out into whirling dervish kind of jam as they continue. Then noise ensues and creates a cacophony that serves as a false ending. Violin again rises up and they create a dramatic and powerful motif from there when the other instruments join. It’s a classical romp that has plenty of rock instrumentation built into it.

Young Mother In Style

This is psychedelic and quite strange, but also quite cool. After a while it works out to a space rock meets psychedelic jam that’s very cool. It soars and shifts and evolves and just plain rocks. That extended instrumental section works through a number of changes and eventually ends the cut.

Situations

Mellower, this is fairly classical in nature, mixed with a real art rock turned theatrical vibe. It rocks out more after a time, but the same overlayers are still present creating much of the same sound. That rocking mode doesn’t stay long, though, just holding the chorus. Then it drops back to the mellower stuff to continue. After another powered up chorus, they take it out into some more rocking space music. Still, there are symphonic elements over the top of that mix as they continue. More symphonically tinged sounds come in after that as it returns to the earlier motifs.

Blind Man

This is playful and a bit weird with a lot of that 1960s psychedelic sound built into it.

Thinking On The Floor

Jazzy sounds are blended with other elements to create a killer rocking sound. This is psychedelic and tasty. This is a cool rocking tune.

Stretch

Another that feels a bit like Jefferson Airplane, this is catchy and yet quirky. It’s also fun. They work it out into a killer jam from there. It’s hard rocking, nicely odd and has some serious psychedelic sound built into it.

Stark Naked

I really like the sound of this tune. It is an instrumental with some great violin soloing, but also some inspired guitar soloing. There’s a lot of energy to this thing and it just plain works great.

Woman On A One Night Stand

Here’s a more straightforward rocking tune. It’s a cool number that works quite well. The vocals on this song feel a lot like Janis Joplin. Even though it’s pretty straightforward, there is still plenty of progressive rock in the mix.

Midnight Wire

This is a slow moving rocker that works well. It’s got plenty of progressive rock along with Jefferson Starship and Janis Joplin.

Hot n Bothered

We get another harder rocking tune that’s fun. It’s got plenty of that Jefferson Airplane sound is quite psychedelic, with perhaps a bit less prog in the mix.

 

The Fool

Rocking sounds, world music along with psychedelic and progressive rock serve to make this cut a cool one. I really dig the violin solo section of this number. There’s also a cool part where the guitar and violin do a call and response solo.

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