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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Sarah Schonert

Songs About Sounds

Review by Gary Hill

There are some intriguing pieces of music here. Some of it, to my ears, gets marred by a processing that lends it to feel warbly. It makes me think of tape that has degraded over time. I'm sure it's supposed to be artistic, and some people will probably appreciate it. It distracts to my ears. The other complaint is that the vocal performance is largely unchanged from song to song, making this start to feel a bit monolithic at points. Still, those who like artist like Bjork should find plenty here to enjoy. There are some songs that really stand out, too. I just think that they might work better individually than as a series of cuts that are often too similar. As with the previous work from this artist I reviewed, I am placing this under progressive rock because it is "art music." I will say that I don't find this release to be as effective as that other one, but it has its charms.

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Track by Track Review
All This Noise
Percussion and keyboards bring this into being. The cut has a weird kind of processed, echoey effect to it. There is an artsy element to it. I'm reminded a bit of what you might get if you merged Laurie Anderson with Yoko Ono at times on this. This is about as far from mainstream as you can get. It is definitely not the kind of thing that will be for everyone. There are moments that pull together as more "normal" music, though. Those are melodic and intriguing.
The percussion is the first thing on this track, too. Lush keyboard textures join and bring this into being. This is much more of a mainstream piece. It works quite well, too. There is a bit of a dreamy, electronic vibe to it. It also has a sense of soulfulness about it at times. This gets quite rocking and reminds me in a lot of ways of Bjork.
The Sound of Falling Down
While this isn't a huge change, this does lean more toward the electronic textures of something like Laurie Anderson. It's a very artsy kind of number. It's also particularly effective. In fact, I'd consider this one of the highlights of the set.
Not Swearing
There is more of a mainstream electronic rocking sound built into this thing. This is another of the standout pieces here. It has a driving energy to it.
This instrumental is quite classy. It has some of that weirdness we heard on the opener, but is a bit more along the melodic, mainstream zone than that number is.
Waffles Over Pancakes
This reminds me a lot of Laurie Anderson in a lot of ways. It's more organic than that comparison suggests, though. There is a child's voice added to the mix later. This song is pretty cool, but has a tendency to go on too long.
Hold You Up
A rather trippy piece, this has some cool elements in the mix. It has a bit of that weird processed texture, though. Still, this is one of the catchier pieces of the whole set. It gets quite driving and powerful before it's over.
Where Were You
This artsy number flows nicely. It's a classy cut that lands among the better pieces here.
Ain't No Weight But Your Own
Electronic and trippy, this is a mellower, dreamy kind of piece. Laurie Anderson is again a valid reference point.
Oh Gretchen
Much more in line with the opener, this definitely leans on the artsy weirdness concept.
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