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Spock's Beard - Day for Night CD (album) cover


Spock's Beard


Symphonic Prog

3.26 | 442 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars The lower overall score on these pages for Spock's Beard's fourth studio album reflects a perception that it's all been done before, previously by The Beard and also by their Golden Age Prog role models a generation earlier. It's a valid complaint (especially after hearing them recycle GENTLE GIANT yet again, in the song "Gibberish"), but on its own terms, removed from any wider context, the album can be a very agreeable experience.

The effort still sounds a little forced, as if the band was merely going through the motions. But you can almost hear them trying to climb out of their rut, adding saxophones and French horns to the album highlight "Crack the Big Sky", plus cello and strings elsewhere. It's nice to see a few new ingredients added to the usual SB recipe, even though the overall flavor of the music was hardly affected.

There's also another brave attempt at a 20-plus minute epic, the longest of its kind for Spock's Beard since their debut album four years earlier. The difference here is that the sub-sections were indexed as separate tracks, which is appropriate: despite the reprise of several themes it's more of a hybrid composition than a unified suite.

What the song means is anybody's guess. There might be an environmental message in there somewhere: "Don't mess with the Sacred Mother", so forth. Which, from a classic Prog Rock perspective, was more effective than the blind patriarchal obedience Neal Morse would soon be advocating. Spiritual lyrics always work better when left vague enough to engage the listener's imagination, as any fan of early YES (circa "Tales from Topographic Oceans") can affirm. It may sound crass, but in this case I'll take "The Healing Colors of Sound" over "The Sugar Pill of Religious Dogma" any day.

"Day for Night" suffered by comparison following the much stronger "The Kindness of Strangers". And the relative worth of the album would take another unfair hit after the subsequent release of the career peak "V" the following year. None of it really sticks to the memory, but the only song here worth skipping entirely is the mushy "Can't Get It Wrong", to which a more cynical critic might answer, "wanna bet?"

Spock's Beard might have been treading all-too familiar waters throughout this album. But at least they were still afloat.

Neu!mann | 3/5 |


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