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Spock's Beard - V CD (album) cover

V

Spock's Beard

 

Symphonic Prog

4.16 | 596 ratings

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maani
Special Collaborator
Founding Moderator
3 stars Where the heaviest influences on "The Light" (the only other SB album I've heard) are GG, Floyd, Supertramp and Kansas (with bits of Yes and Genesis), the overwhelming influence on "V" is Yes, mostly circa "Drama" and "90125" - though I'm happy to note that the "Yes-influenced" stuff here is as good as (and sometimes better than) anything on those albums. / "V" begins with "At the End of the Day," an extended composition with enormous Yes influence in the writing, arrangement, harmonies and even recording. Indeed, except for Morse singing about an octave below where Anderson would be, it almost sounds like something Yes might have done, with A. Morse channeling Howe (sometimes to amazing effect), Meros channeling Squire (especially in the last three minutes - wow!), and D'Virgilio strongly channeling White. And although the composition is not as compelling as anything on "The Light," it is still excellent, with plenty of unique "Beard" touches. The second composition - "Revelation" - is a beautifully constructed piece, with verses that sound a little like XTC (in their "guise" as The Dukes of Stratosphear), and a chorus and break that have an interesting Lennon-esque quality (circa Walls and Bridges). The third composition, "Thoughts (Part II)," is the band's answer to GG's "Knots." After a brief, misleadingly "mellow" intro, the band jumps unabashedly feet first into GG territory, combining "rock"-y sections of interwoven contrapuntal lines, with complex acappela vocals, and even a couple of "classical" breaks using cello, violin, etc. And although it is not nearly as original or complex as "Knots," it is an exceptionally well-crafted piece of music. The fourth composition, "All on a Sunday," is a good, straightforward rock song. "Goodbye to Yesterday" is a nicely constructed ballad, with "Dear Prudence"-like guitar work. The final piece, "The Great Nothing," is an extened composition showing the band at its original best, with touches of (mostly) Yes, GG, and even a nice CSNY-like section. I particularly like the jam at 8:00-9:15, with a wonderfully tasteful organ solo by Okumoto. And, again, although the composition is not nearly as interesting or well-realized as "The Light" or "The Water," it is nevertheless a finely crafted piece of music, with lots of excellent musicianship. / As a minister, I like the fact that Morse's lyrics on this album seem to be nicely inflected with his faith: "At the End of the Day" is almost wholly about faith, as is "Goodbye to Yesterday" ("You're a believer who's found they lied...It's not too late to lay your burden down and walk through heaven's gate"), and "The Great Nothing," which seems to compare Creation with music ("One note timeless came out of nowhere...it sought no glory...no need to say something, no message to sell..."). / I continue to be impressed by Spock's Beard, who I only recently got into via "The Light." And I continue to look forward to hearing more of their music.
maani | 3/5 |

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