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Collage - Moonshine CD (album) cover





4.03 | 326 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Decent Neo-Prog, but nothing groundbreaking.

The only Neo-Prog band I have heard thus far that I can honestly say broke new ground is Marillion. Every other band I have come across in this particular sub-genre merely mimics that sound, and most of it I find hard to listen to. Collage is a bit of an exception, I suppose, even though that over-produced, constant echoey sound to everything gets a little grating after a while. For the most part, though, this is a good album. I do break it out now and again when I have a glass of wine and feel the need for some cheese.

Let me explain . . . when I call this music 'cheesy', I'm not saying it's completely worthless. In fact, I think ALL Prog Rock is a little cheesy to a certain degree, even among the most brutal of Prog Metal. So cheese isn't really a bad thing, as long as it can be kept in check. These guys don't really go so over-the-top that it becomes laughable, or anything. The music itself is really quite lovely, and the keyboards aren't as intrusive as most Neo-Prog bands allow them to be. Everything feels very well-balanced on the whole, and plenty of heart and emotion is to be found here.

Some parts of this album are pretty heavy for it to be Neo-Prog. Distorted guitars, booming drums, and the like will come in fairly often to keep the sappy stuff in check. The piano and acoustic guitar sections are what I am most fond of, but all of the elements are for the most part well-placed and help enhance the experience.

The best song on the album is probably the first one, though I suppose among the more die-hard Collage fans, that may be disputed. I don't really like the amount of long tracks on this thing. I think they could have included less attempts at 'epics', because at times I felt like things dragged on a little too long. The electric guitar solos are bland and stock in delivery and melody. The singing is decent, and fits this type of music well. I'm not very picky when it comes to singer, except in very specific cases, so overall, the vocals and the instrumentation are satisfying. If the lead guitar stuff had been a little more varied and the length of some of the tracks been shortened, I may have even liked this more, but honestly, with this type of music, you either accept it for what it is, or you won't enjoy it at all. I at least realize what this style of Prog Rock is about, and although I am still trying to find more enjoyment from that sub-genre in general, the few gems I come across are indeed worth listening to, at least once.

''Moonshine'' is one of those cases, I believe. It won't be for everybody, and only when you have the right mindset will you fully enjoy it, I think, but it's certainly not bad, and I think it could very possibly be one of the better Neo-Prog works out there. But for me, the only five-star works to come out of it are from Marillion, and the rest have yet to come close to the same caliber.

So it's good, but nothing all that special; at least to my ears. Only invest in buying it if you like this type of music already. Otherwise, you'll find yourself wishing you would have spent the money on other things. 2.5 Stars, but I'll give it a nudge into the threes.

JLocke | 3/5 |


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