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Wobbler - Rites At Dawn CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.98 | 491 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
4 stars 'Rites At Dawn' - Wobbler (8/10)

It seems to be something of an unfashionable trend in the prog world for bands to look to the past to find their sound. Although prog was originally meant to push the envelope of popular music and do new things, so many otherwise brilliant bands have been passing me by as clones of a rather small selection of innovators from the '70s. Even this year, I have come across bands such as Magic Pie or Beardfish whose contribution to the new decade may have been ironically suited to have been released a few decades back. Historically, I have been fairly vocal regarding my disdain for these bands worshiping a decade they may have only experienced as infants, and Wobbler's latest album 'Rites At Dawn' comes to me as something of a surprise on the account. Although there is no trace of modernity to this music save for the production, Wobbler's savagely Yes-derived music manages to strike a real chord with me, and even though 'Rites At Dawn' is an album that will never outshine the legacy of its influences, Wobbler may very well have created the best 'tribute' prog record to come out in a long time.

Listen to a minute of the complex twangy riffs or sporadic, upbeat higher register vocals that Wobbler does here, and it becomes near impossible to not get impressions of Yes; hell, there are even times here where I feel I am listening to a long-lost Yes record. That is not necessarily a bad thing; the music here is done with enough vintage confidence that its a bit too easy to convince oneself that this is an undiscovered '70s masterpiece. I can certainly enjoy the album tons, hearing it from that angle. After all, Yes is perhaps my favourite of the classic progressive bands, so any band that can do their sound with comparable strength certainly merits some due respect. Blanketing their sound in rich keyboards and mellotrons, Wobbler's vintage appeal feels much more sincere than much of the paradoxical retro-prog I have heard. The compositions are filled with ideas, but are bound together by a fairly uniform vibe and pallette of sounds. The album flows remarkably well, and I found myself surprised by how much the album grew over listens. If I could bring myself to take 'Rites At Dawn' out of context, I could likely see it as being a masterpiece of symphonic prog.

But this is still a Yes clone we are dealing with.

Regardless of the fact that Wobbler does their style immaculately, it is near impossible to ignore the fact that despite the magnificent and convincing execution of the album, Wobbler are still more than content to fall under the banner of another band, they even seem to be doing everything they can do be a clone of Yes. Symphonic prog has often passed me as being a very derivative genre, and as a result, the truly masterful albums are usually those that both execute things brilliantly, and bring something new to the table. Wobbler has certainly done one of these things with near-perfection, and while I will no hesitate to say that I really like 'Rites At Dawn', its musical excellence still does not discard the fact that Wobbler is playing another band's ball game here.

Conor Fynes | 4/5 |


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