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Pendragon - Not Of This World  CD (album) cover

NOT OF THIS WORLD

Pendragon

 

Neo-Prog

3.86 | 336 ratings

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James Lee
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars PINK FLOYD had a way of combining moody, anglo-tinted, alienated rock with gospel- style vocals and lush or ambient spacey embellishments; after "Dark Side", they revisited this melding from time to time, right up to "The Final Cut" and the non-Waters era. It was such a successful combination of textures that bands still do it to this day, some with questionable results (ARCHIVE), some with more class...like Hogarth era MARILLION, and PENDRAGON. "If I Were the Wind" demonstrates that a stylistic influence doesn't always equal a rip-off, as I daresay they do it better than FLOYD did on many of their later releases.

Barrett's unique tone and undisguised british phrasing take a bit of getting used to, but he generally sounds both heartfelt and dramatic in moderation, and this saves "The Dance of the Seven Veils" from pleasant mediocrity. The first movement, "Faithless" is much more pop-rock influenced; its companion piece "All Over Now" has a "Dogs"-like rhythmic guitar riff but a more contemporary 90s sound and a good sense of progression throughout.

The "Not of this World" suite has a much more modern (neo-prog, prog metal) feel, soaring nicely with blazing guitar work and warm washes of synth. The excellent drumming seems a little drowned out in the mix at times, but it is a very big sound. "Give it to Me" is a slightly poppier take on the "Money" theme, and "Green-Eyed Angel" is a more reflective, moody love song (that could have used a bit of a goose on the bum to get it moving).

"A Man of Nomadic Traits" has some uninspired lyrics, but the driving, moody pulse of the music makes for good listening. Again, it could have been trimmed a bit, and the tinkling guitar arpeggios and propulsive drums deserve to be heard better. The sweet guitar harmonies and synth washes make this a respectable neo- prog epic with more GENESIS than FLOYD influence this time.

The "World's End" dyad returns to the moody FLOYDian trappings (the first few minutes are even closer to "Hey You" than "Faithless" was) but includes also some GENESIS- inspried synth arpeggios in the more upbeat sections. "The Lost Children" makes a nice transition from a lament to a protest to an anthem, whereas "And Finally" is definitely updated FLOYD style; an interstellar crooner- smooth, sweet and warm like honey heated on a bunsen burner in a laboratory. "Momentary Lapse of Reason" should have had more moments like this.

There's also some bonus acoustic tracks; not being very familiar with the band, I can only comment on these versions. "Paintbox" has a nice nostalgic, melancholy feel- too bad those kind of pickups make acoustics sound so artificial, but strangely enough, this ends up working well with the antique harpsichord texture and solo voice of "King of the Castle". Neither song is amazing, but "King" is a nice pastoral piece.

PENDRAGON are not pioneers, but they make the most of the classic influences while incorporating choice neo-prog and metal elements. Sometimes you may want to light a fire under them, as the songs can drag or repeat a bit, but the sounds are comfortable and warm yet crystal clear. They keep the prog fire burning without simply rehashing the past, and so I give the album a lukewarm but generally positive three stars.

James Lee | 3/5 |

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