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Spock's Beard - V CD (album) cover


Spock's Beard


Symphonic Prog

4.14 | 826 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars That I really enjoy this album has come as somewhat of a surprise to me. Two years ago, when I first understood that I liked what is known as progressive rock and that there were so many bands I had never heard of out there producing exciting quality prog, I began listening to samples on Amazon, iTunes, and YouTube. I tried to get into Spock's Beard but no matter how interesting the music sounded I couldn't accept the vocals. After three attempts to find something that would grab me I gave up on Spock's Beard. Then I read a book by Stephen Lambe where he recommended 'V' and I thought, 'What the heck; I'll buy it,' because Mr. Lambe recommended many other albums which I already owned.

There are three things that I really appreciate about this album:

1. Song length variety. Although there is an epic long song and another over 16 minutes, there are four other songs between 4 and 6 minutes. Long epics can be fantastic but they require patience to get through and appreciate and at times they sound like little more than a medley of disparate songs thrown together for no other purpose than to say, 'We are prog. Check out our long songs.' After the second listen I liked "The Great Nothing" and after the first listen I liked "At the End of the Day".

2. Musical creativity without being overly diverse. The songs are basically rock music in its various modes including quiet acoustic guitar, hard electric guitar, organ, piano, jazzy frills, funky grooves, pop punkish tinges, pretty melodies, and so on. But there are surprises with orchestra and woodwinds, brass, a cappella, and even a Spanish section with some nice percussion. 'Thoughts (Part II)' actually reminds me of a more recent 'Can-Utility and the Coastliners' by Genesis because I once read that Genesis managed to record a classic example of prog rock in a normal length song and this song here by Spock's Beard includes many twists and modern prog turns but barely exceeds four minutes.

3. I like almost the whole album. There's no song that I would call a dud although one or two songs are almost regular radio fodder rock. For the most part this is a very enjoyable album and after the first two listens I was already adding 'At the End of the Day,' 'Thoughts (Part II)', and 'The Great Nothing' to my commute-time playlists. As for the vocals, I wonder what samples I had listened to that turned me off the band in the first place because I have no qualms with the vocals on this album. Though I got the CD only at the beginning of December last year (2013), two of the songs entered the list of 25 most played songs of the year according to my iTunes library (I bought a gross number of CDs last year so there was a lot of competition for listening time).

It's no surprise to know that Neal Morse of Spock's Beard went on to work with Roine Stolt of The Flower Kings in Transatlantic because I can see both bands share a similar musical styling. If you haven't heard Spock's Beard yet, I agree with Stephen Lambe that this album is worth checking out.

FragileKings | 4/5 |


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