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Vincent Van Beethoven

Needle and Thread

Review by Gary Hill

I saw the name of this artist and immediately thought of Camper Van Beethoven because I am such a big fan of that band. This music doesn't have much in common with that, other than a real artistic, out of the box, style. I've included this under progressive rock because much of it is proggy, and it's all art music. Overall this is more on the melodic side of the equation. This is a one-person project, that person being Joe Finstrom.

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Track by Track Review
Calamity Unraveling
Detuned piano is on the menu as this gets underway. The track gradually builds outward to more of a driving melodic prog arrangement as it continues. It's quite an intriguing instrumental number, and a great way to start the album.
Here We Go
The sounds of nature are heard at the start. Piano joins, and then vocals. This becomes a gentle, proggy ballad. This evolves and grows in some intriguing ways.
October Sky
There are some proggy hints here, but overall this is more of a mainstream, mellow rocker.
Hey Baby
More of an energized groove, there is a real 80s music vibe to this thing. I dig some of the keyboard sounds on this, and it does provide some variety, but this isn't one of my favorites here. There is a stripped down section later that takes it into more art-based zones.
Can This Be
This is very artistic and electronic. This is very proggy in a less traditional way, and it is also so cool. It might be my favorite number here.
Change of Heart
Electro pop is the concept on the early sections here. The tune is classy, but not a standout. When it turns toward dramatic proggy zones later, it gets more interesting and becomes more of a highlight.
The Map
Piano gets us underway here. This gets into some electronic, nearly industrial zones as it continues. This has more of an art rock or modern prog angle in a lot of the later parts. It's very artsy, particularly when it drops to a mellower motif for some spoken lyrics.
In a New Light
There are some great melodic prog angles to this cut. This feels a bit more AOR oriented, but it still has plenty of unique electronic angles. This explodes out into some seriously soaring prog zones further down the road.
One Day
Piano starts this by itself and becomes the backdrop for the vocals in short order. Eventually other textures are added to the mix like icing. Then electric guitar bursts in, driving the cut into more rocking zones. Even so, as noisy as it gets, it still serves an art rock purpose. There are times when I'm reminded of King Crimson in some of that guitar part.
When the World Goes Dark
This is a hard rocking and driving tune as it gets going. It turns toward something that makes me think of Saga, musically, after a while. This is another that has more of an AOR groove to it. This is very different from the rest of the album, but in a great way. It still feels connected and like it belongs.
I dig this cut a lot. It's another that's more of a rocking tune. It has a mainstream edge to it and a lot of class. Yet there are still proggy leanings at play.
Only Time (Enya Cover)

I am actually a big fan of Enya, so I can really appreciate this cover. It's fairly true to form, based on keyboards and vocals. I think the track is made into Beethoven's image, but still retains much of the charm of the original.


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