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Dynamo Bliss - 21st Century Junk CD (album) cover

21ST CENTURY JUNK

Dynamo Bliss

 

Crossover Prog

3.34 | 16 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

maani
Special Collaborator
Founding Moderator
3 stars When I first heard this album, it "bothered" me (a lot) because I couldn't decide whether to review it based on "what it was" or "what it might have been." So I waited until I could secure the actual CD before reviewing it. I don't know whether the other reviewers did this, but I'm glad I did, because the actual CD is SO much better than all of the various computer downloads, etc., even on a high- tech computer, with headphones. (And this album should DEFINITELY be listened to with headphones!)

I was impressed by this album even prior to securing the CD, and am even more impressed now. Still, I need to provide two different ratings: the 3-star rating I am giving it vis-Ó-vis the entirety of prog, and a 4.5-star rating for effort, creativity and "potential."

Thus far, all the reviews have noted the obvious (and often admitted) influences: The Beatles, 10CC, ELO, a touch of Floyd, etc. However, the reason the album "spoke" to me in a way that very few albums ever have is that it reminds me more of Klaatu than any band I have ever heard: indeed, this is what Klaatu might have sounded like in its earliest years (as a "garage" band? LOL). After all, Klaatu admits as its three greatest influences The Beatles, 10CC and ELO (with a touch of Tchaikovsky). And they, too, have touches of Floyd (and others). So the comparison with Klaatu is perhaps even more apt than the comparison with the mutual influences on both groups.

In this regard, what the CD brought out much better than any download was the "production" - which is FAR more "present" on the CD (particularly with headphones) than anywhere else, and was the aspect of the album that most bothered me prior to hearing the CD.

Missing from the track list on this page are the short "bookend" songs that appear on the CD, but not on most downloads - "Junk Intro" and "Junk Outro" - both of which are critical to the "whole" of the album, since the first one "sets up" the basics, and the second creates a wonderful "coda."

When you add the two bookends, you find that the album is presented as something of a quasi- concept album (even if the lyrics do not reflect that) in the sense that almost all the songs are connected by segues of either music or sound effects. That said, the first half of the album (Fear of Clouds, Closer to the Heart, No Sense In It, Thin Air) is far more "successful" than the second (Bird of Passage, Mausoleum, White Cherry Hill), which is more "commercially" "song"-y. (Had the entire album been like the first half, my review would be at least four stars.)

Without doing a song-by-song review (since the other reviewers have done quite well in that regard), the music is wonderfully creative in the vein of the influences represented, the arrangements are excellent, and the vocal harmonies (!) are nothing short of superb. As well, having now heard the "production" in its proper state, I am actually very impressed, since it is the production and "atmospheres" on Klaatu's albums that truly "cement" their greatness within the canon. And while Dynamo Bliss doesn't rise nearly to the level of Klaatu in this regard (indeed, few groups do!), this is why my "real" rating also reflects "potential": Dynamo Bliss is definitely on the right track re production/atmosphere, and if they improve, it will increase their excellence even more.

The only weak element here is the lyrics, which are utilitarian (and sometimes pseudo-esoteric) at best, and pedestrian at worst. Still, they are "fine" enough to make the album quite enjoyable.

Now that I own the CDs of all three of their full-length albums, I will listen to (and hopefully review) the other two as well. In the meantime, I am simply so pleased to hear ANYONE coming as close to Klaatu as they do, since (as you can tell by my avatar) Klaatu is among my favorite bands ever, even though they only put out three-and-a-half (masterpiece) albums (the 4th being "required by contract," and thus expectedly worse than the others).

All in all, if you like Klaatu - or any of their influences (Beatles, 10CC, ELO, Floyd, etc.) - you cannot go wrong with at least one complete listen to this album. It really is a joy, and great fun to listen to.

maani | 3/5 |

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