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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

John Sloman

Two Rivers

Review by Gary Hill

This is an unusual release. It's not a hard sell under progressive rock, although a lot of it does fit there. It's definitely art rock, though. I have to say that I'm not sold on all of it. At times it feels a little awkward and the vocals don't always work for me. That said, the creative nature of the music, and the general vibe do a good job of creating something special.

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Track by Track Review
Two Rivers
Spoken vocals are heard over the top of piano on this opening piece. It builds out to more of a full electronic prog arrangement from there. It has powerful lines of music along with some rather chorale vocals. From there it shifts to more of a mainstream rock sound. I'm reminded a little of David Bowie. This eventually builds out to some more energetic sound as it continues.
This River Is a Time Machine
Another that has spoken vocals at the start, this has a lot of folk rock in the mix along with plenty of art music. It has some intriguing shifts and turns and works to more pure prog in some ways. Keyboards bring some drama and psychedelia at times.
Caerdydd (City on the River)
There is a real folk rock vibe to this in a lot of ways. The cut is perhaps less proggy than some of the others. It's no less effective, though. This has some great energy and a cool groove to it.
Scenes from An Old Biscuit Tin
Folk music, psychedelia and art rock merge on this piece. This is dramatic and powerful. It's one of the best numbers of the whole disc.
From the Taff to the Thames
Artistic and theatrical, this is an unusual piece as it gets underway. It turns to more European cafe music as it continues. As it continues it builds to some powerful progressive rock based music that really gets soaring and rather crazed.
Theatrical and proggy, this is a rather freeform sounding piece. It really does feel like something that you'd hear in musical theater.

Folk music, art and prog concepts and more merge on this theatrical piece. I can make out quite a bit of psychedelia on this thing, too.

When I Go Home
I really like the spoken vocal over piano part that starts this. The cut shifts to some strange fast-paced sound over which the sung vocals come. The track drives outward from there with more pure progressive rock concepts added to the mix as it does. This one doesn't gel that well for me.
Rest in Peace (For Sylvy)
A mellower, rather psychedelic number, this is stronger to me. This is one of my favorites here.
Charring Cross Moon
More folk rock based sounds are on the menu here. This makes me think of Todd Rundgren in a lot of ways. It gets more involved and prog-oriented as the arrangement fills out later.
70's Sunday
The acoustic guitar arrangement at the start is sporadic. Vocals augment that. The cut works from there to a folk prog arrangement that makes me think of a mix of The Strawbs and The Syn. This gets powered up and pretty potent later.
Walking Along the Taff
Piano and spoken vocals start this. It moves to a more mainstream folk rock arrangement from there. It gets powered up with proggier concepts later.
The Last Coalminer
This is another starts with piano and spoken vocal. A weird gospel sort of sound comes in to move it forward from there. Some weird deep chorale vocals are heard. There is a real spooky vibe to this. This is theatrical and very weird. Given the competition here, that says a lot. It reminds me a little of something The Residents might do.
Farewell to London Town
Theatrical and folk based, this is an intriguing cut. It's not the proggiest thing here, but it's pretty cool.
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