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Non-Prog CD Reviews


Swan Songs

Review by Gary Hill

This thing is almost modern progressive rock. The argument could be made for inclusion under that heading, but I’m not landing it in that genre at MSJ. I am, however, landing it under very good music. There is a nice blend of sounds here and this is very interesting and intriguing stuff.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 1 at

Track by Track Review
Good Guy

The music to the first section of this is slow moving and electronic. That said, it feels almost symphonic. It’s textural. Piano joins after the first set of vocals. This is pretty. It’s also quite proggy. There’s almost a jazz vibe to it early. Then, when the rhythm section joins it takes on some more rock elements. It works up to a harder rocking jam later with both alternative rock and shoegaze elements at play. This is quite a cool number and a great way to start things.

Hand Delivered
Piano starts this in a bouncy little melody. It works to energetic much faster than the opener did. This is essentially a modern pop tune with a lot of class. It does get a bit of crunchy guitar at times, but overall this never gets to the harder edged sounds heard on the opener.
This seems to occupy territory between the first two songs. It’s got a lot of oomph to it, but still lands well in the pop rock vicinity. It’s another strong cut, too. It’s amazing how something as quirky as this can feel catchy and mainstream.
There are a couple little false starts here. Beyond that, this is short, gentle, piano and vocal number. It’s light-hearted and fun.
Don’t Waste Time
I really like this cut a lot. It’s arguably progressive rock. It reminds me of two fairly obscure acts, Art in America and Esquire. That’s a good comparison and good company to keep. There is a cool jam band styled movement later in the piece that even has some hints of Latin music.
Your Conviction Is Sweet
This is oddly like two different songs. It opens with a gentle piece of music that is quite related to the type of sound heard on the previous cut. After that runs through the cut changes to a hard rocking jam that feels different than anything in the set. As this instrumental segment continues, though, they work in more of the elements heard on the rest of the set. It’s a satisfying way to end the disc.
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