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Dreadnaught - The American Standard CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

4.43 | 42 ratings

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Steve Hegede
Prog Reviewer
5 stars DREADNAUGHT is a relatively new 3-piece American band. They consider themselves a "Progabilly" band, but their music bursts with dozens of different musical styles. The most noticeable influence in this band is PHISH. DREADNAUGHT seem to have been influenced especially by JUNTA-era PHISH, back when PHISH wasn't afraid of creating complex progressive music and Trey Anastasio loved to sing about all sorts of oddball topics. Guitarist Justin S. Walton has studied Trey's guitar style well, yet he takes that style to a new level with all sorts of schizo-guitar runs/licks, interesting chordal shapes, and avant-garde jazz-guitar techniques. He very often jumps, as a loose example, from Anastasio/Howe-like Rockabilly vamps, to dark KING CRIMSON-ish guitar licks, and then finishes the theme with a gentle Django-esque acoustic guitar melody. This is some of the best guitar work that I've heard in years. Another influence that comes to my mind, when listening to Justin's guitar work, is the HAMPTON GREASE BAND. If you are familiar with this incredible southern American prog band, Justin's guitar style is like a modern version of Glenn Phillip's style on that album. The other two main musicians in DREADNAUGHT are also worth mentioning. Bassist Robert Lord adds some rather unique bass work all over the album. I can't really compare him to anyone else, but his presence is heard throughout the CD due to all sorts of cool sound-effects and bass licks. Drummer Richard Habib somehow keeps up with the two other guys by playing non-cliched grooves, and very often matches complicated melodies note-for-note. The music, as I mentioned, is well-balanced and features all sorts of styles (some surprising styles too). This band loves to play complicated PHISH/HAMPTON GREASE BAND-like sections of music that are sometimes as frantic as some of YEZDA URFA's music on "Sacred Baboon". I even hear a subtle hint of RIO (5UU'S, UNIVERS ZERO, and HENRY COW) in some sections. But these guys also like to sing poppier, yet oddball, songs that could definitely get airplay on a college radio station. Overall, though, the catchy vocal-based tunes balance out the crazier instrumental moments on the CD. Once in a while, violin, piano, flute, and even French Horn are added to various tracks. Some of those guest musicians add interesting colors to the arrangements; especially the violinist who reminds a bit of Stephan Grapelli. Anyway, "American Standard" is killer. I'm not sure what neo-prog, and sympho-prog fans are going to think of it, but if you love early PHISH, the HAMPTON GREASE BAND, Trey Anastasio's poppier song writing, Steve HOWE's rockabilly influences, YEZDA URFA's instrumental sections, then you will definitely love the music here. Okay, I think I'm going to pick up my guitar now, and try to figure out what the hell Justin is doing on most of this album.
Steve Hegede | 5/5 |


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