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Lands End - Natural Selection CD (album) cover


Lands End


Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.60 | 52 ratings

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3 stars This was another CD that I purchased sometime in 1998 when I returned back to prog rock - after a silent period when I thought that prog would no longer exist - through Malcolm's Cyclops catalogue. By the time it was the only reference I could use for sourcing good prog bands. Natural Selection is a good album where the music is a blend of Alan Parson's Project, Tangerine Dream and Ozric Tentacles. It's probably too simplistic to say Lands End's similarities with any of the group I mentioned because when I observe in details I can smell an influence from Pink Floyd as well. Le's see on track by track basis so that it helps us build a final conclusion about this album.

Strictly Speaking In Geographical Terms (1:03) is basically a sort of overture that explores a very thin keyboard sound reminiscent of the intro part of "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" by Pink Floyd. Nothing special about this thought provoking title. It's only heavy in title but it's basically nothing in here, I would say.

From The Ruins Of A Fallen Empire (14:44) starts off with an exploration of keyboard sounds and effects typical to any space rock music like Tangerine Dream accentuated by drum. When vocal enters the music, it reminds me a bit of Alan Parson's Project but with space music textures. I have a bit of problem with the way drum set is played; it's annoying to my personal taste, it's so simple with relatively nothing excellent about its sound. Too simple, very little variations. One thing noticeable is the keyboard and electric guitar solo. However, I feel annoyed with a transition piece at approx min 4:10 where the keyboard plays simple notes that will later bring voice line accompanied with acoustic guitar rhythm. This simple melody happens again right after the lyrical part approx. min 6:00. Simply put: the melodies created by the band is too simple that have made me getting bored and annoyed listening to this piece. But the electric guitar solo after this part is truly stunning!

Love Through The Winter And Blood In The Spring (11:36) opens with a Floydian guitar sound in ambient nuance. The percussion and drum sounds enter the scene. Again, I got problem with this percussion and drum sounds - it seems to me there is no such wide variations - it's not as inventive like Ozric's drumming if I compare fairly. It's annoying for me. The vocal line then enters the music with keyboard as main rhythm section followed with a stunning keyboard solo. Rhythm-wise, this track is using the same tagline all over the track. The band puts some solos and sound effects on top of this tagline rhythm. Again, I enjoy the guitar sound exploration in this track.

An Emptiness That Cannot Be Filled (6:03) opens beautifully with an acoustic guitar fills in melodic mood and mellow style. The voice line enters in low register notes accentuated with a nice acoustic guitar work. This part reminds me a bit with Hogarth era Marillion. The song flows smoothly with acoustic guitar as the main rhythm section augmented with a relatively thin sound of keyboard at background. What makes this song excellent is the electric guitar at the ending part - reminiscent of Pink Floyd's Gilmour.

My Home (10:30) begins with an exploration of bass guitar sound and keyboard at the back followed with a music that gradually enters the scene. The culmination of this gradual entry is the part where keyboard and guitar deliver melodic rhythm part just before vocal enters. Wow! The electric guitar solo is truly stunning man! I cannot imagine if there is no guitar solo in this composition; it's gonna be very empty! At approx minute 6:10 there is a nice combination of bass and drum sounds in ambient style - reminiscent of Marillion's Misplaced Childhood.

Natural Selection (total: 30:00) is an epic that comprises 4 parts. It starts really slow at the beginning with relatively long quiet passage. The part when vocal enters accompanied with percussion is really nice. The music style reminds me to Hogarth era Marillion - something like Brave, I would say. The epic has been built around ambient mood with some variations of solo works. Again, I observe the guitar solo is stunning especially when it's combined with keyboard solo in alternate. The problems that I have with this epic are two-folds: it moves so slow that I thought the duration seems like "elongated" to give an image og prog epic (I guess); and there are some transition pieces that do not sound smooth - they seem to be forced to change in different style.


It's an enjoyable prog music and it's not bad at all. The only thing that I think this album is a kind of lacking probably is the composition. I can prove this with my observations throughout the album on how the musical instruments interact each other to produce musical sounds - it sounds like being forced, not something natural or smooth. As I mentioned, I got problem with the drumming - not because the drummer but more on the composition. It's basically something like:"Hey, why this part must be filled with a sound like this?" or "Not a lot of variations in terms of drum work". And I think that this is a composition issue instead of player's issue. The other thing, still under composition, is the melodies produced by keyboard sometime so annoying - well, it's like something when you listen to it three times you suddenly get bored. Uughh ..!! When it comes to rating, I would give an overall 3 out of 5 stars rating. It's a good prog album. Keep on proggin' ..!!!

Yours progressively,


Gatot | 3/5 |


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