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Lobster Newberg - Actress CD (album) cover


Lobster Newberg

Eclectic Prog

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4 stars Into my review about the second albun for this excellent North American band, I must emphasize wich although they continue shows the same versatility- due to their influences ( already mention in my review about their debut albun "Vernal Equinox")- wich at this point of their trajectory begin to come new influences while others seems more soften, fact wich in my opinion represents a search for an own identity. The mainly new approaches are, pinchs of jazz, passages in the Gentle Giant vein and a use more generous of the wind instruments (proportionate for the guest musicians) , and in a moment I cleary listen a passage wich reminds me "The Sensational Alex Harvey Band". I consider this new undertaking a little less enthusiastic than the previous albun, but even so my rate is 4 stars
Report this review (#235891)
Posted Sunday, August 30, 2009 | Review Permalink
Eclectic Prog Team
4 stars Imagine Gentle Giant evolving into the twenty-first century, not merely rehashing old techniques, but adopting an even fuller sound and picking up a few jazz rock and alternative elements along the way- that is Lobster Newberg in a nutshell. This band squeezes so much into such short track times, a skill not an awful lot of progressive rock artists have. Colin Peterik's lead vocals are very indie-sounding and should find favor with a wide audience. Seriously though, Derek Shulman and Kerry Minnear would fit right in with this troupe. Folks, this is a sophomore album that is not to be missed, especially by fans of the aforementioned group. It doesn't hurt that there's a pair of gorgeous gams on the cover, either. Oh yeah- it's bouncy!

"Set Your Sails" Crunchy guitars and frantic organ and piano begin the album. There's a bit of saxophone raunchiness in the middle section, followed by a squealing guitar solo. Upbeat, peppy- this works perfectly as an opening track.

"Stay" A buoyant, jazzy track (wherein the vocalist sounds a bit like John Mayer), this piece has nice flute and guitar runs with a sprightly rhythm. The refrain is on the heavier side, but has a slight Gentle Giant flavor. The organ and flute interplay in the middle is really cool, and just then the band launches into a fuller segment with some odd piano bits.

"Bug City" This song has a slight blues-rock feel, with vocals over musical stops followed by the main riff. The bass work stands out to me, but there's a wonderful brass section, which I know would please Chicago fans. The studio banter at the end shows even more of the band's lighthearted side.

"Lost" The clavichord, electric guitar, and organ work hard over some drums and bass to create a thick, varied wall of music. The vocal line is very creative, and the instrumental section is like a heavier, fuller interpretation of that eerie-sounding part during Gentle Giant's "Schooldays." The refrain is equally imaginative, with amazing melodies and musicianship.

"Wonderful" The shortest track has lovely flute, piano, acoustic guitar, and Mellotron. It has a great melody, and makes for a decent song overall.

"Demian" Moving between complex rhythms and extremely simple vocal sections, this piece isn't quite to my liking, as a lot of it sounds forced, but it still manages to showcase the band's tightness and talent. The electric guitar and piano interplay is not to be missed, however.

"Illusion" Delicate piano and acoustic guitar start up the lengthiest track. The initial vocal section is decidedly simplistic, perhaps staying safe, but the actual singing is extremely well done. Lovely piano and organ weave their way over a punctuating rhythm, introducing heavy guitar and saxophone. This is a rich piece of music, full of life and happiness.

"Bed" I knew this song would be my favorite the very first time I heard it. I almost felt I could say that just by hearing the dreamy introduction and interludes. It boasts brilliant vocal passages and a great brass section (something I'm not big on generally).

"Tight Rope" This is a jaunty number, laced with harmonica and an animated rhythm. The bass solo is killer, right along with the harmonica and electric guitar jam.

"Silver Cities" The beginning of this piece, the piano notwithstanding, sounds like latter-day Rush to me, mostly thanks to the steady drumming and trebly bass work. The smooth vocals begin abruptly, and the song over all is good, if forgettable.

"Have You Ever Been Alone" The final track has some excellent organ and bass work throughout. The vocals are, as expected, good, and the overall, there's a bit of a reggae tinge. The bright instrumental section is highly sophisticated, with an awful lot going on.

Report this review (#247304)
Posted Friday, October 30, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars A bit of trivia, something I always love to uncover when discovering new music: Colin Peterik, the lead singer and keyboardist for Lobster Newberg is the son of former Ides of March ("Vehicle") and Survivor ("Eye of the Tiger") guitarist Jim Peterik. Neither here nor there I suppose, but it helps explain the young lad's knowledge of progressive arrangements and general ability to craft a pop tune with some meaty hooks.

Lobster Newberg has released a couple albums as near as I can tell, both of them self- released and generally impossible to find. In fact, I'm still looking for the first one and may have to resort to the dreaded iTunes. This isn't progressive music per se, but the band does have a penchant for taking what are basically pop tunes and embellishing them with horns, keyboards and some bouncy bass bits to give the impression of something with more substance than it probably really has.

A few tracks stand out among the fluff: "Lost" for example has a catchy keyboard sequence that shifts and moves around the choppy vocals and chameleon-like guitar riffs that weave in and around Peterik's stilted keyboard playing; and "Bed" is a really smooth, seductive pop song that reminds me of Sigmund Snopek III's epic release "WisconInsane", which also means it pays some tribute to the eclectic stylings of Elvis Costello at his finest. If that's your kind of music you're bound to find something to like here.

And "Silver Cities" would probably be considered a decent prog tune if it appeared on a Gentle Giant or even Fripp album instead of an indie release. If you close your eyes and don't look at the album cover you can maybe even convince yourself to take it seriously.

Otherwise this is good pop but nothing to go gaga over. Peterik at least has some promise as a songwriter and may yet find some success if he can manage to surround himself with equal talent and find a label willing to put a little money into development and promotion. Hope so for his sake, but in the meantime the band and this album will wallow in obscurity. Help a brother out and pick this one up if you come across it; supporting artistic talent is what music appreciation is all about after all. Three stars just because these songs make me happy.


Report this review (#588942)
Posted Thursday, December 15, 2011 | Review Permalink

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