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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Name the Moon

Space Force

Review by Gary Hill

This band hails from my hometown of Rockford, Illinois. With no insult to any of the other great bands who have come from Rockford, they are among the most talented and intriguing acts from the area. The guitarist, Mossy Vaughn, is best known from his time in The Heavils. They were another band that was inventive and unusual. This act on the surface is more often than not classic 70s blues rock inspired. However, I've landed them under prog because even the most straightforward song here has experimental edges. There are other songs that work even further into proggy, expansive and experimental zones. Whatever you call this, though, it's so effective, unusual and just plain cool. It also progresses rock music by stretching the boundaries of what is expected, which is literally the original definition of progressive rock. Did I mention that the CD comes in a cool sleeve that makes it look like a vinyl record? Well, it does, and that just shows another way these guys really stretch the boundaries of what's expected.

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Track by Track Review
New Orleans
Cool bluesy guitar brings this into being. The cut gradually drives forward with a classic rock kind of vibe to it. I love the bombastic, 70s rock sound to the guitars. The cut has a real blues rock element at play. Imagine Tom Petty with a lot heavier sound and you might land somewhere close to this. The violin brings an almost Hawkwind space rock vibe to the proceedings.

Another blues rocking number, this is also packed full of classic sound. They take this out into a jam later in the track that again works toward space rock. It's so classy, just like the whole set is.

Champions of Nothing

A cool roots meets psychedelic groove opens this thing. The cut grows outward in style. Psychedelic rock merges with an almost progressive rock sensibility on this thing. Yet, it's all worked together into a jam that's more alternative rock than anything else. This is more experimental and modern sounding than the two opening tunes were, but it's also still rooted in older musical textures, too. It does get a parental advisory on the lyrics. I really love the changes and melodies on this. It also has some of the coolest textures in the rich overlayers of sound. There is a drop back at the end to an extended sound clip that seems like it comes from a movie. As weird as it is, it is also very cool.

Psychedelia meets an almost metal texture as this thing drives outward. This one also earns a definite parental advisory. It works out to freaky weird proggy stuff, too. This is clearly experimental and twisted, yet somehow it feels almost mainstream for a lot of the track. There are some incredibly cool shifts and turns, one to an ominous and almost psychotic prog sound is among my favorite passages of the disc. That ends the cut in style.
Uncle Lenny II

Hard rocking and so cool, this has a real psychedelic meets blues rock texture. This has an alternative rock edge, but an experimental arrangement. The dropped back section brings a prog edge. As the violin screams overhead when they power back out from there the space rock element shines brightly again. A trippy, mellower movement at the end brings the proggy things home to roost.

Coming up slowly from the ending of the previous piece, space rock and trippy prog merge well here. This is the most dynamic cut here. It's also one of the most experimental. It covers a lot of territory, leaning toward metal at times. A weird section with a piano and a clarinet and a processed dialog ends the cut is suitably strange style.
I am Wave
This powers in with a screaming hot jam that's part hard rock and part jazz. It works out to an almost grungy movement from there. The cut manages to seem almost mainstream while built on all kind of strange little tangents. The hard rocking textures dominate in a rather straight-line approach. Listen a bit deeper, though, and there are all kinds of different elements in the mix. It moves toward a trippy kind of space at the end.
Cut the Rope

Coming in with a mellower, melodic mode, this is dark, but also pretty. It is slow moving and has some hints of Americana in the mix. The trippy wandering based around the violin later is so cool, but the whole track is just sublime, really. There is another bit with weirdly processed spoken vocals at the end of the track. I said "the end," but it's the end of the song proper. There is a strange little bit at the end with a clip of a supposed news cast along with some classical strings. It's a suitably strange way to end an odd, but so cool release.

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