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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Dave Bainbridge

To The Far Away

Review by Gary Hill

You just can't argue with the music of  Dave Bainbridge. It's always so charming and high quality. This is melodic prog with Celtic and folk influences. It's lush, dynamic and dramatic. It's a strong set of tunes, but what else do you expect. If you haven't heard Bainbridge's solo music, but are a fan of his band Iona, rest assured that this doesn't fall from the kind of sound that outfit does.

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Track by Track Review
Sea Gazer
Some non-lyrical chorale vocals are heard on the growing introduction to this piece. The number works out to a guitar solo for a time before modifying that into more of a full arrangement. It keeps evolving from there. This six-minute plus piece is more than half over before the actual vocals join. The tune takes on a real classy, almost Kate Bush element as it continues from there. The arrangement makes great use of different voices to deliver the lyrics. Killer melodic rocking sounds with Celtic edges take this up toward the sky further down the road. This is pure class.
Girl and the Magical Sky
This number starts more on the mellow side, with a balladic approach. Unlike the opener there are vocals right from the beginning. This grows out with a melodic prog approach that gets more powered up as it continues to work forward. There are number of twists and turns along this path. It drops back to the more sedate further down the road. There is a powerhouse instrumental movement later that includes some particularly evocative guitar soloing.
Rain and Sun
Intricate and lush, yet rather mellow as this gets underway, it grows in fine fashion. The guitar that serves as the bedrock is both delicate and complex. The electric guitar soloing over the top of this instrumental is all class. The number switches gear after the mid-point turning to dramatic, classically inspired stuff to continue.
Clear Skies
This starts with a beautiful and magical mellow elegance. It grows gradually before exploding out into powerhouse progressive rock music to continue. It peaks and drops to intricate folk prog zones for the entrance of the vocals. I'm reminded of Renaissance just a bit here. This continues growing as it works forward. It explodes into a fast-paced, driving prog jam later that has some exceptional instrumental interplay.
Ghost Light
There is a real sense of wonder to the melodic prog that brings this cut into being. This smoking hot and dynamic piece has some great moments. The balance between mellower movements and more rocking ones is so great. The meaty guitar solo section with vocals almost whispered around it is so cool.
Cathedral Thinkers
Piano starts things here, and the cut builds outward from there. It grows and evolves for a while, but then peaks as if it will end. Instead we get a pretty crazed piano solo to bring this instrumental to a close.
To Gain the Ocean
A mellower motif starts this cut and the vocals come in over a strictly piano arrangement at first. Acoustic guitar joins after a time.
As Night Falls
This is a shorter instrumental. It has some soaring guitar and symphonic elements. It's on the mellower side, but it's packed full of drama and a sense of mystery.
Infinitude (Region of the Stars)
Symphonic instrumentation is the order of business on this track. The piece has some non-lyrical vocals at a couple points, but otherwise is an instrumental. It is evocative and potent.
To the Far Away
The title track is a powerhouse prog rock instrumental with plenty Celtic angles built into it. It's rich and lush, too.
Speed Your Journey
Another up-tempo prog tune, this is really great stuff. The vocals work so well, and the whole piece delivers Celticly inspired prog rock that's very tasty.
Fells Point
Frantic and packed full of both Celtic and prog angles, this instrumental is great stuff.
Something Astonishing
This is another potent prog instrumental (although it has some non-lyrical vocals). It makes for a great parting gift.
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