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Spock's Beard - Snow CD (album) cover


Spock's Beard


Symphonic Prog

3.86 | 698 ratings

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5 stars A double concept CD? The laws of prog says this must be good, well actually it is! Although the story is heavily based on "Tommy" (man with "affliction" (albinoism, hence the name) becomes quasi-religious icon), the music is strong enough and different enough to avoid accusations of plagiarism.

The musicianship is very strong here as you'd expect but more important is the quality of the music itself. This was my introduction to Spock's Beard and they still haven't bettered it in my opinion. There is a commercial touch to the songs and a number of them could surely have been hit singles - "Stranger in a strange land", "Long time suffering", "Devil's got my throat", "Carie", "Looking for answers" and "Freak Boy". These are all very strong songs with excellent hooks and choruses, showing almost "pop" sensibilities which are not always found in prog.

The overtures at the beginning of each CD also show that the Beard can still do the tricky stuff well. It all builds up nicely until the climax, the last song where the opening track "Made Alive" is reprised and then leads us back into the song that ended the first CD ("Wind at my back"). This time it builds up gently and slowly adds more harmonies. This also reminds me of "Tommy" (the "listening to you" climax) and for me this is one of the most dramatic songs in modern, or indeed any, prog music. The song builds up with Neal adding vocal ad libs over the stunning harmonies until the song ends with a typical "live" song ending, before there is silence and a quiet reprise of the song fades in and out. Definitely one of the great endings, right up there with "Supper's Ready" in the goosebump chart.

I cannot recommend this CD highly enough - one of the greats of modern prog without a doubt. There is also a special edition with a third CD of outtakes and covers (including Yes' "South Side of the Sky").

chopper | 5/5 |


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