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The Gourishankar - 2nd Hands CD (album) cover


The Gourishankar


Eclectic Prog

3.98 | 167 ratings

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2 stars First the good news. This is a very interesting band with a dynamic sound. Full of chops as far as the eye can see one gets the feeling that these guys warm up by ripping through covers of the most complex Crimson or DT numbers for fun. They can play their arses off to be frank. The presentation is lush and enticing. Limitless ideas are presented and in terms of playing prowess they are usually achieved.

The bad news? This is a decent album but it is no masterpiece. With respect to the exuberant enthusiasm of fellow reviewers throwing 5 stars at their feet I have to dissent because 2nd Hands, while OK, is also a bit of a mess. Musical "Attention Deficit Disorder" is my main charge. There are many important aspects that go into the making of a great album and the most important is lacking here. They have the musical prowess nailed and they have the sound and presentation down too, but they lack the compositional excellence and the cohesiveness needed for a 4 (or 5) star album. They present something of a musical Jackson Pollock here, throwing lots of pretty colors on the canvas without paying adequate attention to developing satisfying songs. They are bouncing off the walls with the shifts and changes. Great, you say? True, there are many who will love this. I found the album very exciting myself initially but the more you play it the more you realize it lacks foundation and dare I say warmth. The good ideas that they come across are never fully explored enough because the band move too quickly to the next chance for flash. This musical immaturity seems fresh out of the gate but quickly proves tiresome.

Just a few comments on some individual tracks: "Queer Forest" sounds amazingly like a later period Rush song to me, right down to the vocals that sound like the older aged version Geddy Lee. But as was noted by another reviewer it is almost comical how difficult it is to decipher the words when listening, you would swear at times it's another language even though it is English. "Taste a Cake" is a delightful piano breather that is all too short unfortunately. "Syx" is my favorite track that while still being a collection of flash snippets, somehow it comes together as one hell of an instrumental. The strings, flutes, and pianos add some much needed depth and traditional balance. ".End" is the closest the band gets to exploring one quadrant at a time to decent results. The balance of the music exemplifies what I see as style/flash over substance in the songwriting area-and I acknowledge that I will be in the minority on this-many will see the fireworks overload as a great thing.

With all that said this is not a horrible album. There is much to be excited about here for the future. These guys are very talented and I firmly believe they are capable of great albums. They simply need to be more focused musically, favor instrumental storytelling and melody over showing off, and get in touch with the idea of self-editing. Relax guys, you don't have to document every fiber of your mind's musical minutia on every track. Spread it out and explore more. As negative as this review is going to sound it really is not. I just thought this viewpoint needed to be expressed about the songwriting because I think many people here and elsewhere are giving them a pass on this important aspect. I expect these guys may blow my mind eventually but it certainly isn't with 2nd Hands. 2 1/2 stars.

Finnforest | 2/5 |


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