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Combination Head - Museum CD (album) cover

MUSEUM

Combination Head

 

Neo-Prog

3.28 | 32 ratings

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progpositivity
Prog Reviewer
3 stars This band does many things so very right. First, they are simply magnificent at the craft of audio production. Instrumental leads are well written and well performed. Virtuosity, while present, is rarely showcased. Rather, the songs reign supreme, with instrumental passages placing "feel" and "effect" far above strictly musical concerns. And the effects are magnificently (dare I say it?) effect-ive. Or they would be, if there was much of a market for tragically un-hip synth pop rock in today's music scene. Think Mike and the Mechanics meeting Alan Parsons Project and Camel. I can sense you cringing already.

Despite the fact that the music is a bit too serious and retro sounding for contemporary rock fans, a bit too mellow and patient for pop and AOR fans, and a bit too AOR for prog fans, I simply cannot shake the feeling that any collection of tunes so shiny and competently crafted... so catchy yet still adorned with artistic vision all around its edges... simply must garner an appreciative audience one way or another - even as it most certainly alienates a significant portion of their core fan-base in the process.

Had this been a debut album in the year 1986, not only might it have been a big hit, many of us prog fans would most likely still harbor fond memories of how cool this group was for a pop band. But they aren't a pop band. And it isn't 1986. Most critically, their core audience remembers them as a very well produced fusiony instrumental outfit with tons of tasty keys. To this audience, "Museum" convincingly provides a most resounding answer of "No" to the question posed by the title of their previous album.

As art-rock and prog-rock music fans, we tend to fool ourselves into thinking we want our favorite artists to follow their muse and to pursue their own vision. But, if the truth is to be told, it seems far more likely to me that we actually prefer our favorite artists to give us what we want (as long as they do so in such a manner that appears to us as though they are pursuing their own artistic vision in the process).

Never mind that there isn't any pop jackpot cash cow for these guys to milk... Forget the fact that you can't "cash in" without the cash or "sell out" without the sales. Combination Head may be simply creating whatever type music they want to - but many in the world of prog will not receive this album with open arms.

All that having been said, I will go on to further say "loud and clear" that if you "can listen as well as you hear" every now and then, and if Alan Parsons Project meeting Camel on a somewhat commercial day-trip doesn't send chills of trepidation down your spine, this may very well be the guilty-pleasure album of the year you've been looking for. Check it out! Highly recommended!

progpositivity | 3/5 |

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