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The Underground Railroad - The Origin Of Consciousness CD (album) cover


The Underground Railroad


Eclectic Prog

3.43 | 28 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Dan Bobrowski
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I haven't heard the previous UR album, Through and Through, so I didn't know what to expect, except that Bill Pohl has a touch of Holdsworth in his guitar style. Well, I always find that intriguing. Bill Pohl does have a lot of Holdsworth in his bag of tricks. That doesn't detract from what my ears are telling me though. Kurt Rongey shifts deftly between piano and synth, swirling out flurries of ascending and descending patterns. Drummer John Livingston is powerful and dynamic, has great tone and compliments the strong bass playing of Matt Hembree. This is a very tight band, playing complex progressive rock with some major fusion influence. The vocals are good, at least much better than other bands playing this style of music. Some of the harmony vocals remind of Echolyn. The lyrics are pretty far out, in the Jon Anderson tradition. I've read them a few times and without some kind of guidance from the author they could contain multiple meanings. In this context, the ambiguity fits and doesn't detract from the overall pleasurable experience.

As I sit and listen whilst typing this review, I'm hearing what can only be described as Echolyn with Scott McGill sitting in to provide additional pyrotechnics. There is a similarity of sound, especially when the whole band builds mountainous crescendoes of instrumental power. Missing are the acoustic guitars and memorable melodies that make Echolyn the significant group that they are. Not to say this music is without melody, but simply a lack of melodic hooks that get stuck in your head. Instrumentally, these guys are ferocious and not lacking for ideas, but maybe they are putting too many ideas into the mix and not letting the melodies take hold and gel. Still, I can't help but be intrigued by the cohesion of the bands sound. This one calls for more than casual listening and since they are from Texas, I'm sure they'd want the listeners to swill some fine brew to better appreciate their brand of American Prog.

I would recommend The Underground Railroad to fans of Echolyn, Frogg Cafe, Land of Chocolate, Finneus Gauge, Thieves Kitchen, Dark Aether Project, Djam Karet and Thirteen of Everything. A complex harmonic undertaking. Raise a glass and enjoy!

Dan Bobrowski | 4/5 |


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