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Nice Beaver - Oregon CD (album) cover


Nice Beaver

Eclectic Prog

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erik neuteboom
3 stars What's on a man's mind, dr. Freud? A NICE BEAVER from Holland! This band just released their second album and what a stunning progress they've made. The first track "Nights In Armour" (at about 12 minutes) is a wonderful and alternating piece featuring lots of shifting moods (bombastic, bluesy and even some Andalusian undertones), pleasant keyboards (organ, violin-Mellotron), nice vocals and strong guitar work (sensitive soli). The next seven compositions deliver varied and tasteful prog rock: from "Morphine" (a compelling blend of ethnic, prog and metal), "Any Other Day" (a polished prog rock ballad with a moving guitar solo) and the title track (sensational bombastic break halfway with sparkling piano and heavy guitar-riffs) to the exciting instrumental "The Beaver Stater" (intro features soaring keyboards and beautiful Latimer-inspired solo and in the end a wah-wah drenched guitar play) and the classical influenced final song "Lawn Mower's Day Off". Keep on proggin' NICE BEAVER, I'm already looking forward to your next album!
Report this review (#33441)
Posted Friday, February 4, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Oregon is the second album from Nice Beaver and is a great listen with some very inventive music. The first track Nights in Armour has a Camel like influence at the beginning before heavier riffs remind me of Rush at times, all in all a great opener. The albums other excellent tracks for me are Oregon with a catchy chorus and varied sections, and the Beaver State an instrumental with some superb guitar in the style of Andy Latimer or even Dave Gilmour this track is just about my favourite. My only (slight) criticism is that the vocals are not quite up there in the same class as the music but nevertheless are by no means poor. Overall this is an excellent release with no weak tracks and I would recommend it to anybody into symphonic rock with a harder edge, this music will I'm sure come across even better live.
Report this review (#33442)
Posted Tuesday, February 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Imagine a prog band named Nice Beaver, only the liberal Dutch can come up with such a sexual form of humour (Kind Pussy?) No wonder prostitution is semi-legal in Holland! Now that we got the giggling out of the way, this is another powerful testament to the ever expanding library of good prog emanating from the Netherlands. Their first opus "On Dry Land" had some exceptional moments ("Wintersong") and has been a frequent partner in the CD player ever since. "Oregon" is a definite upgrade , presenting a whistle clean production that is exhilarating. From the first few minutes of the epic opener , the tone is set. This band has been wrongly categorized as a Camel clone only due to the quieter moments but the majority of the arrangements are harder edged , cooking with volcanic fury. A slight arabic motif (Violins and flutes) almost evokes the Tea Party, with a crunching main theme bleeding into a spectral guitar flight , courtesy of Hans Gerritse. "Morphine", as the title implies , is a brutal, lugubrious venom-spitting rant , more anger than metal , against the ravages of drug abuse , dripping with rage and sarcasm. The anthemic "Any Other Day" is just s great song with a catchy chorus and nailed down with a wicked lead eruption full of bluesy balls. The title track evokes an almost Traffic-like feel , replete with a rolling chorus, Winwoodesque vocals , clean guitar soloing and a well-centered rythm section. Erik Groeneweg sets down an array of lush keyboard textures, elevating the angst to explosive heights. Power prog at its finest. "The Beaver State" (Oregon's monicker) is a hand on Pink Floyd's shoulder, a sobbing bluesy lead conductor with an obvious Gilmour- Santana-Mario Millo tone, an instrumental highlight with a torrid incantation , pounding beat and untamed abandon. "Two Brothers" begins with a surprising twist , the 5 note alien greeting in Close Encounters of the Third Kind (I was wondering when that would show up in a prog recording! ) and then evolves into a profound atmospheric lament with the spirit of Latimer clearly expressed in Gerritse's lyrical playing. Hushed hypnotic vocals are transported on a keyboard cloud of silky synths.A 10 minute bliss ride . A little Crimsonoid intermezzo releases a return to some more delightful sounds. "Love on Arrival" is another scorcher, an incandescent ember raging qualmless and indignant! Yeah! And how best to finish off the experience than a final killer epic, with hints of PTRee , a 10 minute + workout offering a deep and rich chorus , fully evocative of the marrow of their craft, with a little oboe ditty just to keep it special. This is a poignant and satisfying hour of deep, heavy prog with staying power. Very Gouda! 4.5 stars
Report this review (#123856)
Posted Tuesday, May 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Nice Beaver can also mean a nice animal which take care not to send tonnes of liters of muddy water through your kitchen........ and not necessary the female reproduction organs.

Oregon is full of hard working beavers who work 24 hours a day on their dams. Their work is very good for the environment. Trouts and other species of freshwater fish relies on beavers to survive. It is nice that this Dutch band really makes us aware of that. In Holland, they have spent tens of billions of dollars on building dams after the disaster in 1953 which flooded the country and killed thousands of people. If they had let loose the beavers in Holland, a couple of human lives would had been spared. I guess the engineers in Holland studied the work before they undertook the great work in actually creating a country - Holland- back in the 1960s. Most of Holland is below the ocean, hence the second name of this country; The Netherlands.

That was today's tutorial from a dedicated member of The Dull Men Club. Now, celebrate that I have cured your insomnia. You will sleep well tonight, dreaming about beavers and dams. Beavers and dams. Hands and gloves. Holland. Eclectic Prog. ZZZZZZZZZ.......

Nice Beaver is an interesting band from Holland and this,their second album, is actually pretty good. This album starts with a symphonic prog track called Nights In Armour. This track comes across as a blend of Genesis, Manning and Riverside. The rest of the album takes up the Riverside link more than the Genesis link. The sound is very contemporary with no references to the 1970s. The guitars is more metal-riff based than melodic. There are some Dream Theater over this album too. Radiohead also springs to mind. They have been compared to Rush too. I agree, although they are more Saga than Rush. Porcupine Tree, Tears For Fears, A-Ha and The Flower Kings springs to mind too. In other words; Eclectic Prog.

Nice Beaver most definate have their own style with one foot in the pop/rock scene (Tears For Fears & A-Ha) and the other foot somewhere in the prog rock land. The music is full of small details and based on keyboards and guitars. Although some of the tracks does not hit home, I find this music very interesting.The band knows what they are doing and their sound is very good. It is just about exctracting the last 10 % and they would create a masterpiece. They are so close to become great. At the moment; they are an almost-great band. Please release another album, Nice Beaver. My review of this album will put you to sleep, but the album itself will wake you up, ready to build big dams.

3.75 stars

Report this review (#230321)
Posted Friday, August 7, 2009 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
4 stars A dutch band with a name like this and an album bearing the name of an american state could be either a joke or something very different. And different it is. This quartet is up for something very original, although the elements that make up their sound are quite familar. Well, not too familiar to progheads, maybe, since they draw their inspiration from sources that are not often related to prog music nowadays. But the result is very good even if a bit demanding to the listener. It is complex, varied and very, very well crafted.

One of the things that put them apart are the vocals. There are two singers and one of them has a very soulful voice that sounds a bit like that american vocalist Michael McDonald. It gives a different approach to the songs that work very well once you get used to. The other one is the guitar style of Hans Gerritse, owing it more to Eric Clapton or to Jeff Beck than to Hackett or Akkerman. And the instrumental parts have a strong influence of what is called here ´heavy prog´, of the early 70´s (meaning that soul, blues and hard rock are included), besides more ´traditional´ prog, jazz and even some arab and flamenco overtones. Not to mention a modern touch here and there. Eclectic indeed!

All in all I found this CD to be very, very good. There are no fillers and the songs qualities varies from very good to excellent (even if I did not really think it was a good idea to start the record with Nights In Armour). Production is perfect for this style. It might take a few spins to fully appreciate this record, but it is worth the efford. I hope this band will release another record soon. If you like that kind of prog rock with some strong blues influence done in those golden days of the early 70´s try Oregon. It is one of the most surprising CDs I heard in a long time. Four stars.

Report this review (#242155)
Posted Wednesday, September 30, 2009 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars You can't go wrong with either of NICE BEAVER's studio albums. While I do prefer the debut it really is a toss up as both are excellent.This the second effort is more mature sounding, more serious but there's no doubt it's the same band. Fred Trafton ("GEPR") says the guitar frequently reminded him of RUSH, which reminded me of this 30 something guy coming in the store while this was playing and asking me if I was listening to RUSH. I had to tell him "No, it's NICE BEAVER (haha)". He wrote down their name. I didn't think he would need to (haha).

"Nights In Armour" is dark to open with strange sounds. Some atmosphere here as the marching style drums with synths roll in. It's building. A full sound before 2 1/2 minutes sounds like CAMEL, riffs follow. Then the CAMEL-like guitar led section returns. It settles before 4 1/2 minutes with some nice bass and keys. It kicks back in before 6 minutes, mellotron follows. Vocals for the first time after 7 minutes with violin.Themes are then repeated. "Morphine" opens with the sound of crickets. Percussion joins in before the music kicks in around a minute. Great sound 1 1/2 minutes as it turns powerful. Vocals before 2 1/2 minutes, mellotron a minute later as it settles some. Contrasts continue. "Any Other Day" is more relaxed as vocals come in with light drums and bass. It gets fuller. Contrasts continue. Mellotron 2 1/2 minutes in with some nice guitar to follow. "Oregon" has this heavy intro with background synths. Vocals before 1 1/2 minutes as it settles. Contrasts continue. The tempo picks up 3 minutes in. Great sound !

"The Beaver State" sounds like 80's FLOYD with the atmosphere and guitar. It kicks in before 3 minutes then settles back as contrasts continue. Huge bass 4 minutes in. "Two Brides For Two Brothers" is dark with reserved vocals, background synths and a beat. Tasteful guitar 2 minutes in. Spoken words 4 minutes in. It settles after 7 minutes. More spoken words after 10 minutes. "Love On Arrival" opens with synths as percussion and vocals join in. Riffs with chunky bass come and go. Then it kicks in. Nice. Great sound after 4 minutes. "Lawn Mower's Day Off" opens with reserved vocals and a relaxed sound. It's fuller 1 1/2 minutes in. I like the emotional vocal cry before 4 1/2 minutes.The tempo picks up. It sounds like aboe after 6 minutes. Piano too. Waves crash over and over 9 minutes in to the end.

Not as fun or uplifting as the debut but I like this an awful lot.

Report this review (#248036)
Posted Tuesday, November 3, 2009 | Review Permalink

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