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Spock's Beard - Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep CD (album) cover

BRIEF NOCTURNES AND DREAMLESS SLEEP

Spock's Beard

 

Symphonic Prog

4.13 | 463 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Mr. Mustard
3 stars Admittedly, I had given up on the post-Morse Spock's Beard after hearing Feel Euphoria. My interest was slightly rekindled with their previous album, X. But after hearing about the departure of yet another integral member in Nick D'Virgilio, I was interested to see if they could continue. Needless to say, every member is capable of songwriting, and Ted Leonard does a fine job on vocals. But to say this album is anywhere near the greatness of the Neal Morse led albums is blasphemous, in my opinion. Regardless, I would venture to say this is the best album since Snow, which should at least mean something.

Of the songs on the album, 'Afterthoughts' and 'Waiting For Me,' are the songs with a classic Beard sound, which is no surprised considering Neal Morse himself had a hand in writing them. Consequently, both of these songs are amazing.

'Afterthoughts' is cleverly disguised as Thoughts Part III (chronologically 4th). Like the other songs in the series, this one is built around the counterpoint and multi-part vocal harmonies inspired by Gentle Giant.

People who are not fans of Neal Morse, especially with his tendencies to be derivative of himself may not like 'Waiting For Me', as it is laughably predictable. But for Morse fans like myself, we eat it up. It opens with the classic Morse melody, before seguing to some upbeat verses with piano and a solid bass and drum rhythm section. Guitar and keyboard trade some tasteful solos before ending in another classic Morse fashion, with soaring guitars and a dramatic atmosphere. This is easily the best track on the album, and is a nice revisit to classic Spock's Beard, even if it is a bit derivative.

Unfortunately, the rest of the album does not quite meet the standard of the two mentioned songs. The songs have a large pop sound, but do mostly hang on to their prog identity, like the opening 7/4 time signature and sudden tempo change of 'I Know Your Secret.' Of these songs, 'A Treasure Abandoned' is probably the highlight for its diverse structure and sound similar to earlier Beard in parts. 'Submerged' is also worthy to note, if only for the fact that it could legitimately receive radio play.

While I still think there is plenty to like about this album, it is far removed from the melodic prog prowess that graced their earlier work. Still, I would recommend this to fans of the post-Neal Spock's Beard, and also to fans of a more poppy and heavier edge to symphonic prog.

5/10

Mr. Mustard | 3/5 |

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