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Spock's Beard - V CD (album) cover


Spock's Beard


Symphonic Prog

4.17 | 895 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars The best Morse-era SB, despite some failures.

V is the best of the Morse-era SB albums. Really this should not be the case. It suffers from the same problem as Day for Night: too many less-than-musical pieces - and even worse, is saturated with preaching by Neil Morse who had by this time really found religion and wanted to sing about it. But despite all this (or perhaps partly because of the latter) some of the music here is really excellent. But again, this is a polarized album. The song that many think is the best on the album, and the one that represents this album in their greatest hits collection "The First Twenty Years" - the opening track "At the End of the Day" - is for me the worst track on the album. Again, like Day for Night, it ticks all the boxes for what a good progressive rock song should be. But it is (at least for me) just not at all musical. I have tried and tried. It doesn't flow. It contains really un-musical melodies and chord changes, and just seems forced and concocted, obtuse for the sake of obtuse at the sacrifice of real music (and please remember, I am a huge Crimson, Henry Cow, Soft Machine, and Zappa fan, so I usually like obtuse). But thankfully there are some really great tracks on this album which raise it up high. I actually think that this album contains the two best-ever Morse-era SB songs: "Thoughts, part II" and "Revelation", despite the fact that both were written by Morse and related to his religious conversion. "Thoughts part II" is not only musical, the lyrics speak about someone who is contemplating discussing important (to them) issues with a loved one who they know will just not understand. While for Morse such issues were (likely) religious in nature, the way the song is written it could refer to anything, and I think we all have had those same experiences/thoughts/feelings when trying to discus personal matters with others. It really hits home as authentic, and the music is perfect for the song. "Revelation" is of course even more directly related to Morse's religiosity, which would normally turn me off, but this song is just SO musical. It works amazingly well, and thankfully on this album Morse is talking about himself and not seemingly telling others what to think (so the lyrics are, for me, tolerable). The third, and final, track that I really like on this album is the extended 27-min epic "The Great Nothing". Here Morse seems more subdued and ambiguous with his lyrics and singing, which is nice, given so many of the other tracks on this album are just too preachy for me. This epic is great music. Together, "Thoughts II", "Revelation" and "Great Nothing" make up 60 percent of this album, and are such strong tracks they help raise this album up into the 4-star realm, even though the other tracks are weaker. I give this album 8.0 out of 10, which translates in my 10-point scale to 4 PA stars.

Walkscore | 4/5 |


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