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Pendragon - Pure CD (album) cover





3.89 | 604 ratings

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3 stars Puree

Opening with nods and winks - some blatant - towards earlier Proggers, Pendragon kick off Pure with some Hawkwind-esque E-rooted riffage topped with occasional synth pads, and some Gilmour-esque guitar underlaid with dogs barking, reminiscent, well, obviously...

When the song kicks in, though, it's a bit of a disappointment - a kind of Snow Patrol riff, which quickly becomes a single-chord jam, followed by a heavy metal riff feeds to the first verse, which is fairly obviously Floyd influenced, with a simple melody line, and more of the metal riff to punctuate.

The overall feeling is of a well-crafted pop rock song, not Progressive Rock - but it's an enjoyable listen.

The intent is obviously to create something that sounds a bit like Prog, and the music for the second verse drops down a couple of layers, and adds some interesting vocal interjections - but the overall game plan is still simple song with accompaniment, the weaving organ line and guitar twiddly bits feeling somewhat on the messy side; just additional layers that the song doesn't really need.

There's a fairly predictable drop-down for the instrumental section, and some sumptuous sounds over the single- chord build-up towards the equally predictable single-chord heavy spacey section. This is stylised Prog, not the real deal - but that may not matter to you, as it has to be said, the sound is epic. However, it does get old pretty quickly - I long for some experimentation or something different - something that hints at other genres, for example, or something that mashes up the music until I can't predict what's going to happen next.

This is more like easy-listening space rock than Prog, to be perfectly honest, and the influences (or, at least, the main influence, Pink Floyd) are so on the sleeve, that I wonder why this is so easily accepted in the Prog community.

Eraserhead starts off a bit more promisingly - gone are the blatant Floydisms, but in are predictable rhythmic patterns - most of these seem to come from Twelfth Night (I recognise Creepshow and Sequences in there!), and again, this is a standard song with a kind of proggy vibe. Cliched lyrics leap out; I need you now like I need a hole in the head. Oh dear.

So after the relentless repetitive rhythms in the verse/chorus, presumably we're going to get a strip-down in the instrumental? Oh yes - there it is, bang on cue around 2:20. This will then build up, I predict, back to the original riffs - OK, it does this via a couple more iterations of the strip down. The insistent rhythms become more early Marillion in flavour somehow, in the final couple of minutes, but I wish there was more actual variation.

Now we have 3 pieces which are related by title; Comatose I, II and III, each with parenthesised titles.

The first begins promisingly with piano and voice - and this sounds like it might have come from a musical, except that the harmonic progression, er... isn't a progression - it's all built around a single chord, until the chorus section, which is a descending 3-chord lick.

Then a totally new and unrelated idea is used at 1:50ish, built around washes of single chords and textural pads, until a stark heavy metal riff is introduced - this really feels uncomfortable and tacked on.

Continuing this pastiche approach, the music is stripped back to the single-chord/synth layer stuff, but with the guitar, and the heavy section is re-iterated, and a new tangent is gone off on - this tangential approach I find really, really annoying. It shows a lack of composition foresight - this is not an artistic Progressive composition, but a rock band experimenting with putting bits and pieces together - and, to be frank, it doesn't really work.

Skipping quickly over to part II (5 minutes was more than enough of part I), we find a repetitive riff opening the piece, based around 2 chords, which feeds into a kind of Indie band song based on the same 2 chords. I just can't listen to this.

Part III starts off much better - but quickly falls into the same traps.

The Freak Show starts off like a simple heavy metal track, and is equally dull.

We finish up with It's Only Me, featuring a harmonica which kind of reminds me of Supertramp - and a reasonably inventive piano line, which meanders a bit, faltering, with no real direction. It sounds so much like everything else on this album that I stop.


OK, I really don't like this album - I could put up with a couple of tracks, but it gets so boring and uninventive. There's precious little to determine one track from another, and nothing musically interesting to a hard-nosed proghole.

That's not to say it isn't any good - if I was reviewing this without considering my Prog needs, I'd probably be kinder - but not much.

It's a nice enough album in its own way, but doesn't really add anything to the canon of music, let alone the canon of Progressive Rock!

Three stars is being generous on this site.

Certif1ed | 3/5 |


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