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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Downes Braide Association

Suburban Ghosts

Review by Gary Hill

This is the latest album from Downes Braide Association. I liked the previous one, but I think this one is even better. It’s AOR prog, but it’s definitely prog. It’s also an incredible album. I love Geoff Downe’s keyboards and arrangements, but Chris Braide’s vocals are stellar. This is such a strong album, really.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2016  Volume 1 at

Track by Track Review
Machinery of Fate

This electronic prog jam is fast paced and powerful. The harder edged sections really soar. The vocals are passionate and powerful. The whole thing feels like a more symphonic version of The Buggles in some ways. It’s such a great cut and potent opener.

Suburban Ghosts - Parts 1 & 2
I love the melodic prog of this cut. It’s got such a great vibe and melodic texture. The multiple layers of vocals are great, and so is the music. The second part of this leads off with a cool keyboard solo section. Then a screaming (but melodic) guitar rises up and drives the piece forward. That said, there is no guitar listed on this song, so I have to think it might actually be keyboards, but it sure sounds like guitar.
Suburban Ghosts - Part 3
This is energetic and accessible. It’s another with definite hints of The Buggles. There are other things here, though. It’s electronic, but manages to feel organic at the same time. The mellower section mid-track adds a different flavor. It works back out to a very rocking section before a dramatic and mellower movement finally ends it.
Piano starts this thing. The vocals come over this general arrangement and the cut moves forward. Although the keyboards are beautiful and potent, the vocals really steal the show on this song. They are so impassioned and powerful.
Number One
With a good balance between mellower and more fast paced and powered up, this is another that makes me think of The Buggles. It’s a great tune however you label it, though. The vocal hooks on this are so catchy that it’s hard not to singalong. There is a cool bit of keyboards with the sound a person on a phone that ends this.
A short piece, this is more electronic music with rock vocals.
North Sea
Another with a great balance between mellower and louder sections, this is dramatic and evocative. It’s pretty, too. It manages to really deliver a lot of style and emotion.
One of the Few

In a lot of ways this feels a lot like something from Yes’ Fly from Here album to me. That’s a good thing because I really like that album. This is quite strong. Then again, everything here is quite strong.

Time Goes Fast
Here is another that makes me think of The Buggles. It rocks pretty well and is very effective.
Live Twice
Piano leads us out of the gate. There are some other keys over the top at times, but the vocals come in over mostly just the piano. There are some more lushly arranged sections. This is, though, one of the mellower and more mainstream pieces here. It’s also quite pretty and solid.
Dreaming of England
This is the only song with guitar and bass credited. It is more of a pure prog rock piece. It’s also quite a potent one. I can’t emphasize enough how much the vocals bring to this song and the whole album, really. The guitar soloing on this thing is quite tasty, too. It really is a growing piece of music, evolving as it goes along.
This instrumental is a great electronic prog jam. It’s an excellent way to end the set, too.
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