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Progressive Rock CD Reviews


Royal Bed Bouncer (vinyl)

Review by Gary Hill

Progressive rock with a real mainstream angle to it was such a huge thing in the 1970s. This album from Kayak really shows off what that kind of sound could yield in the right hands. The music here ranges from more mainstream rock to more pure prog. I have to say that I think the second side is the stronger one. It has more of a focus on the real prog side of things, but the whole album works well.

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Track by Track Review
Side 1
Royal Bed Bouncer

This gets things going with a fast paced rocker that really works well. It drops to a piano and vocal movement. I can hear this as a mix of Queen and Saga in some ways. They rock it out more at times. There is a smoking hot instrumental jam further down the road, too. That section really brings that prog.

Life Of Gold
Piano gets things going here. The vocals come over the top of that with style. It works forward as a balladic tune. This works out gradually to more of a rocking song. This is more decidedly proggy in some ways than the opener was. It's also more evocative and powerful. I really like this a lot.
You're So Bizarre
There is a bouncy, playful groove to this piece. It's a fun one that still manages to be proggy. It also has some definite Beatles-like vibes to it.
Bury The World

A tasty guitar based arrangement brings this in, but it drops to a spacier vibe from there. As it evolves there are some rather Beatles meets Klaatu vibes to this piece. It's also quite proggy. There are some really cool prog excursions built into the later parts of this.

Chance For A Lifetime
Bouncy, energetic and so tasty, this makes me think just a little of Queen on the introduction. The track has a fast prog meets mainstream rock vibe on the song proper. All the references of the earlier tracks seems present here, but I can also hear some hints of Yes and Starcastle along with Supertramp on this. This one of the most decidedly prog rock based things here. It's also one of the highlights to me. The instrumental movement late has some great classical vibes before exploding into a killer jam that leads back to the song proper.
Side 2
If This Is Your Welcome

This comes in up-tempo and works through some cool melodic prog sections. I dig the interplay between piano and guitar on this. The introduction is fairly long. It drops to a more stripped back arrangement for the entrance of the vocals. This is a great example of AOR prog. There are really some awesome twists and turns on this. The cut gets very powerful and soaring at points.

Moments Of Joy
This number starts with piano and vocals. It's another classy cut. It grows out into rocking zones at points. It really makes me think of something Supertramp might have done.
Patricia Anglaia

Starting on piano, this cut grows out from there to a melodic prog arrangement that at ties has some cafe type elements There are some non-lyrical vocals (mostly female by Patricia Paay), but otherwise it's an instrumental.

Said No Word

The opening section on this is a killer fast-paced prog jam. It drops to a mellower arrangement for the entrance of the vocals. This has so many cool twists and turns. I can make out some of those Supertramp references I mentioned before, but overall, I'd consider this closer to Yes in a lot of ways. This is without question one of my favorite tunes on this album. Given some of the competition, that says a lot. That opening jam returns for an instrumental movement mid-track, and it is so Yes-like that it's scary. An instrumental section later takes it even more directions. Again it has a Yesish vibe at times, but that is just one thing going on with that segment. The track connects directly to the closer.

My Heart Never Changed
Classical piano brings this into being. The vocals come in over the top, bringing some real emotion as they do. This never really grows too far from its origins, instead just intensifying the basic concepts. It makes for an effective ending to the album.
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