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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Josh Birdsong

Where the Light Bends

Review by Gary Hill

I came very close to landing this one under progressive rock. It definitely has ties to modern prog, and some songs land fully under that heading. Still, there is a pop rock turned alternative vibe here, too. Ultimately, I think that element winds up dominating. This is a solid set of music. It has some definite nods to 80s bands like The Cure, but also to things like Dream Pop. This is adventurous and compelling.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2017  Volume 5 at

Track by Track Review
Complex Context

There is some circling, chirping, chiming sound built into the introduction of this. As it works out, it feels quite a bit like Belew-era King Crimson. The cut elevates more as it moves forward. There are some parts that have elements of 80s music like The Cure. Really, though, more than anything else, this is a modern progressive rock number with a definite pop music edge. It's lush and potent.

The Sound Beneath the Static

As this starts it feels very much like an extension of the previous number. The basic, swirling, chiming element is still here. This is slower and less intense, though. It has a bit of a Dream Pop element to it. Yet there is still plenty of that modern prog rock sound here, too.

Cloud 8

Here we land more into pure pop rock territory. This has a definite alternative rock bent to it. Overall, it's more of a soaring pop tune, though. That said, we are taken into more 80s music (Cure-like) later in the piece.

Too Much to Hold

This does a great job of combining a pop rock vibe not unlike the last song with the proggier sound of the first couple pieces. There is a lush and soaring kind of vibe to this in a lot of ways. It's a real powerhouse piece of music.

Arctic Desert

More energized, this is a modern prog rock infused number with a lot of 80s rock in the mix. I really dig this one a lot. It lends some variety, and I dig the chirping kind of musical intrusion that the guitar brings. Some of the keyboard textures even remind me of something like Tangerine Dream a bit.

Where the Light Bends

Landing more fully in the pop rock end of the equation, this one is closer to the kind of music we heard on "Cloud 8." While it doesn't break a lot of new ground, it's definitely effective.

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