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Pentwater - Out of the Abyss CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.67 | 47 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
3 stars Second album from a this little-known Michigan band (they're named after one river in that state), that would be totally unknown if the Syn-Phonic label hadn't unearthed it in the early 90's - even Vernon Joynson ignores the band in g-his revised Fuzz Borderline book. Their lone album (reordered between 73 & 76) never got an official release (only a private one), and finally got an official through that (then-) essential label in 92, which coincided with a fairly important rebirth of prog in the US (Magna Carta label + Dream Theater). Musically, the quintet concentrates on a very English-sounding prog, often very close to Yes (to the point that 'clone' might be applicable), sometimes reminiscent of Gentle Giant or Genesis. This release is apparently the touched-up versiion of what was available from the band's s/t album in 78, so it's more than just the album, as the Cd last 65 minutes of music.

As hinted above, Pentwater is certainly not very original, leaning too much on their influences and only on rare occasions do they manage to create their own brand of sound, mostly when lead singer Konopka plays his violin - he's also playing guitar, flute, percussions and an important songwriter in the band. Despite the band sporting a two-guitar attack (including Konopka's part-time), the focus is more on Koppel's impressive array of keyboards (for a band that never broke through (despite what says the propaganda in the liner notes about opening)-act support if big names). My main gripe about the album is to tell apart the original vinyl album and the Cd final product' If there are any modifications, they were done in a very tasteful manner, careful of not using the catastrophic late-80's or early-90's technologies to screw up the ambiance and nature of the music. Fave track for me? The Journey, though Oceans has its charms as well.

One of Syn-Phonic's better early 90's release (which made the label's and owner Greg Walker's reputation), but ultimately, however interesting it may be, it's not really essential, but a welcome addition to your shelves, if you're not too uppity/mindful about its derivative nature.

Sean Trane | 3/5 |


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