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Non-Prog CD Reviews

C.K. Flach

Empty Mansions

Review by Gary Hill

This is an intriguing set. It's rather effective and has some songs that are particularly strong. It's not without its problems, though. For one thing there are a couple points where one of the guitars sounds out of tune. It might have been a conscious decision, but it really feels like a nail on the chalk board to me. Secondly, there is a bit of a monolithic element at times. Overall, though, the mix of folk, rock and other elements works pretty well. The spoken closer might be a strange choice (and it does go on a bit long), but it's actually one of the coolest things here in terms of creativity and variety.
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Track by Track Review

There is a bit of a classic rock edge to this. Overall, though, the cut is more folk music informed by country. I suppose that it's also along the lines of singer/songwriter stuff. Whatever you want to call it, though, this melodic rocker is very cool. It's slow moving and quite tasty. It seems to convey a lot of emotion.

Boxcar Dreaming
Less on the folk end of the spectrum, this is still connected to that genre in some ways. It's just more of a rocking number in terms of the arrangement. As much as I liked the opener, I think this piece works better.
While not a big change, this is another effective number.
A mellower cut, this is more pure folk. It's also not nearly as strong as the previous tunes. That said, I do like the harmonica and the spoken section.
Slow moving and folk like, this is more of a slice of life kind of thing. It's a solid tune, but not one of the highlights. I do really like the more powered up segment later in the track.
The Officer
This is a gritty song lyrically. In a lot of ways it makes me think of Lou Reed from a musical point of view. It's a song that seems to point out a lot of the problems of modern society.
Queen Caroline
The keyboard sound on this is an intriguing touch. In a lot of ways this makes me think of Reed, too. It's mostly spoken and rather intriguing in terms of the sound. There is sort of a false ending that gives way to a guitar dominated folk styled section.
Empty Mansions
The title track is somewhat predictable - a folk music styled cut. Still, it's one of the more effective numbers here.
Machine Gun
Another that's more pure folk, I really like the harmonica on this tune. The number is one of the stronger pieces here.
There is a weird bit of sound at the start of this that I think is a gong. The cut itself is stranger than that, though. This is a spoken piece with no accompaniment. It reminds me of something Jim Morrison would do. It is weird, but also rather cool. That gong sound ends it.
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