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Bad Alchemy - Rorschach's Conundrum CD (album) cover


Bad Alchemy

Eclectic Prog

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4 stars A rarity on the modern American prog scene: an authentic Canterbury prog album with more than a passing resemblance with Hatfield and the North. The similarities of the music and vocals to Hatfield & The North are so uncanny, that one is led to ask whether the album is a mere clone, i.e. the work of a simple homage band or whether it represents an artistically valid effort that happens to borrow the sound and language of one excellent Canterbury band of the past. The answer for me is: Bad Alchemy has assimilated this major influence, and what we hear on this album is in my view a valid and excellent artistic extension, not a mere variation on already traveled roads. Of course, it is clear that this 'Rorschach' s Conundrum' is more than a ... Rorschach's test that would surreptitiously and unintentionally evoke the music of Hatfield and the like: the 'conundrum' here is not in whether this band accidentally sounds like a classic Canterbury band of the 70s - their music IS definitely la Canterbury and la Hatfield -, but whether we should dismiss their effort as a mere homage.

I let myself be swayed by the music: one so rarely hears new, truly canonical Canterbury music with excellent compositions and performances that my attitude is to be grateful that modern bands care to thrive along these veins of inspiration and deliver new music that faithfully recreates so well the 'feel' and texture of a band as superb as Hatfield & the North. Moreover, since we are unlikely to witness new musical creations from the original bands (and especially Hatfield and the North, whose last release is a live album recorded in 1990: the band has occasionally reunited for punctual occasions in the recent past, but there's no sign that they will record any new material), let's say that we are blessed that somebody can fill up the void created by the lack of bands as iconic, brilliant and distinctive as Hatfield and the North, National Health or Egg.

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Posted Friday, January 22, 2016 | Review Permalink

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