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Spock's Beard - The Light CD (album) cover


Spock's Beard


Symphonic Prog

3.85 | 682 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars It's not always easy to write a fair review of a debut album when you are hearing it 21 years after its release and you already own other later albums by the same band. Already owning "V" and "Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep", I recently decided to check out Spock's Beard's 1995 debut because someone mentioned the album's significance in the 1990's prog revival. I noticed a few reviewers pointed out similarities to classic Kansas, but I had already committed myself to getting the album.

I can imagine in 1995 this must have made quite an impression. Very much in the vein of The Flower Kings, this album and band sounded yet another trumpet that it was safe for prog to go back in the water. I personally don't hear Kansas as much in there as I hear, well, Neil Morse era Spock's Beard. Though there are obvious differences between "The Light" and "V", it's very apparent that this is the same band, except that they added Ryo Okamoto on keyboards shortly after this album was released. In fact, I can't help but being reminded of "The Great Nothing" from "V" as I listen to "The Light's" opening title track.

Though this album doesn't include vocal counterpoint and harmony tracks like "Thoughts (Part II)" or "Afterthoughts", the music and songwriting is still very much Spock's Beard and it's quite clear that this band knew where they were going right from the beginning. There is a certain rawness to the guitar sound in particular that was cleaned up later. My image of the music on this album is that of a pair of sneakers that are a little worn and tattered while by "V" they have new shoes which are not only snazzy-looking but a little more expensive too. Some of the song part stitching sounds a little inexperienced once or twice. There are a number of enjoyable parts throughout, but nothing can top the title track as a well-written and performed song. I like the longer track "Water" mostly but the final song from the original album, "On the Edge", slips past my attention namely because I'm not keen on it.

As my second Neil Morse Spock's Beard album, I am not really surprised by anything. It's a fine piece of work for the most part. The vocals are treated a bit roughly in the mix, though I believe this is intended, and not everything is genius, but certainly a worthy album of having in my collection. Also, it has inspired me to consider looking into Spock's Beard more in the coming year. It seems some reviewers have a pretty low opinion of this album. I guess that's partly because the band gets better later. Almost four stars but not quite.

FragileKings | 3/5 |


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