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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Sea Level

On the Edge

Review by Gary Hill

This 1978 album from Sea Level is a great set. It’s got a nice balance between songs with vocals and instrumentals. I know some people will quibble with it landing under progressive rock, but really the mix of sounds here is somewhere along the fusion meets prog line and I’d land it on the progressive rock end of that spectrum.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 3 at

Track by Track Review
Sneakers (Fifty-Four)

There’s a great funk vibe to the opening track. Several minor shifts drive this killer instrumental in some great ways. I really love the piano work on this thing.

King Grand
Even funkier, this has almost a Steely Dan vibe to it, but with more jazz in the mix. The jamming on this is great and the vocals really sell it.
Living in a Dream
As cool as the two openers were, this one really pushes the “cool factor” over the top. It’s got a great mellow groove and just plain rocks. Yet, it manages to do it with a more sedate motif. The jazzy jam later in the piece is great, too.
A Lotta Colada
Packed with jazz and progressive rock styled shifts and changes, this is an energetic instrumental that’s among the best moments here. There are some great moments in this for sure.  
This Could Be the Worst
One of the most proggy tunes here, this is actually one of the best numbers. It’s got funk, jazz and more built into it. It’s a solid tune with some deep lyrics. The instrumental sections on this are classy, too.
Uptown Downtown
A proggier version of Steely Dan would be a great description of this number. It’s high energy and has a great groove to it. I really love the instrumental section and particularly dig the guitar sound on the solo.
Electron Cold
Somehow there is more of an understated progressive rock meets fusion groove to this thing. Yet, it’s still energized and rather funky. There are definitely some great instrumental bits on this tune.
On the Wing
Here we get one of the more pure progressive rock numbers of the whole set. I love some of the keyboard sounds on this. Yet, the jazzy guitar soloing is great, too. This instrumental works through some changes and carries a lot of magic throughout. There is so much going on in this number that it’s hard to believe it’s not fifteen minutes long.
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