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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Mick Paul

Parallel Lives

Review by Gary Hill

Mick Paul is probably best known for his work as part of David Cross' band. This is his new solo disc. The album has a real fusion meets prog vibe to much of it. Cross shows up on one song here. Along with others, David Jackson of Van Der Graaf Generator is also a guest on the disc. The music here is unique and effective. You might here things that call to mind other acts, but this lives in its own world, really. It's a nice place to visit, too.

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Track by Track Review
Your Days
Keyboards and vocals begin this cut. After this opening movement keys tear in with some killer prog sounds. As other instruments join, this works out to some cool fusion styled sound for the instrumental break. The vocals join over  a dropped back version of that element. I'm reminded to some degree of the band UK on this number. The instrumental sections really bring killer prog jamming.
Light Of Silence
The fusion groove on this thing is so tasty. The vocal arrangement is similarly classy. It's more of a meaty prog tune, getting less mainstream than the other one did at times.
No Horizon
Furious and quirky prog rock drives this screaming hot tune. It's strange but so meaty. There are some exceptional musical passages. I love the bass sound on this track, but everything about this is magical.
Parallel Lives
The bass stands out on parts of this track, too. The number is dramatic and powerful. It's perhaps more pure rock oriented than some of the rest, but it's also decidedly prog.
Beneath The Gate
Dramatic rock, classic prog and fusion all seem to merge here. This cut has some accessible hooks and some meaty prog jamming.
Uncharted Course
Mysterious sounding keyboard tones bring this track into being. There is really a sense of an adventure to this number. It has plenty of fusion in the mix. There are spacey moments, too.
One Way Conversation
I really dig the fast paced groove on this number. Killer fusion is in the driver's seat on this to a large degree. The piano solo brings some magic, while the rhythm section creates some intriguing and unusual patterns of sound.
Bass soloing brings this in. There is guitar work later in the piece, too. I think there are different parts unless it's some hybrid instrument. I don't keep up on new equipment like I should, but instrumentation has really been reinvented over the last couple decades. In any case, there is a classical vibe to this, and it's a cool change.
Powerful dramatic prog with world and fusion elements in the mix brings this into being. The flute is an intriguing touch here, but there are so many rather mysterious and trippy elements at play on this instrumental piece. It really does feel a bit like birds flitting about to some degree, which I would guess is what the title refers to. This is equal parts fusion and space rock. It's also one of the highlights of the set.
Comfort Zone
A bit meatier and harder rocking, some of this tune makes me think of Dream Theater just a bit. There are both mainstream hooks and meaty fusion-like concepts at play here. I love the bass break on this and the killer jam that ensues afterward is one of the most powerful musical passages of the set. There is some smoking hot soloing that emerges over the top as it continues.
Frozen Perspective
This instrumental is a mellower, ambient and trippy sonic tapestry. It's very much space music aligned. It serves as a nice interlude.
Name On You
I love the killer bass work as this starts. Some metallic guitar brings the hardest rocking music of the set. This definitely leans toward the Dream Theater concepts mentioned before. The bass really shines through a lot of this track. There are more mellower movements, but they still drive.
Consigned To Reality
Bass starts this one, too. The cut works out into some dramatic modern prog as it gradually builds on that basis. This becomes quite a powerhouse tune before it's over.
Morning Skyline
Here is a killer prog instrumental. I really love some of the keyboard work on this a lot, but everything about it is cool. It has some particularly tasty guitar playing and tasty funky bass work at times.
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