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Poor Genetic Material - Spring Tidings - 15th Anniversary Edition CD (album) cover


Poor Genetic Material

Crossover Prog

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4 stars Well, That Changes Everything

Do Not Get Lulled

Warning! Expectations set too low, too sweet, will be rudely intersected with menace, darkness, and complexity. In this 15th Anniversary Edition of "Spring Tidings" from veteran German symphonic progressive quintet POOR GENETIC MATERIAL, a "simple" rearrangement becomes a new album.

Something quite different.

And Another Thing!

I'm fighting temptations right and left. For instance, due to the title "Spring Tidings" I'm tempted to dismiss the symphonic progressive twists and turns and tempo changes and shifts of mood and ever-changing terrain of keyboard richness/guitar textures/complex rhythm section replete with accomplished drumming and hard-charging bass lines- 'well, that's to be expected.'

And then regarding the lyrics, which if you wish to stay sublimely unaware and lazily entertained Do. Not. Read.- but if you take the bait and do a little mental work, well then, the temptation is to write a 15 page paper (with references, typed, double-spaced) on all the allusions, ideas, and themes which emerge.

Because the lyrics, like the music, push the listener into quite unexpectedly dark and dangerous terrain- "Spring Tidings", my a$$!

No Spring Picnic

Or is it just me- here as I write this in actual spring, in KS, USA, on a chilly, wet, dark-hued day with the threat of flooding in the forecast- just the mood I'm in, or am I seeing, reading, hearing multiple levels of music and ideas and experiences- which by the way strike me as a brand-new entity from the original 2006 version of "Spring Tidings"?

But I Will not Yield!

To temptation, that is. No, I doubt if you read album reviews for an in-depth look at the compositional machinations of skilled high-level musicians in mature stride, or for an incisive review of the poetic and lyrical aspects of emerging themes within the text given- the water/sea/rain/solitary drops/puddles/sweat/rivers...the views on life and death, the shadow aspect of living and dying in the psyche...

Wait, damn it, there I go, giving in!

To Further Complicate Matters

For simple minds like mine, that is- there are now THREE versions of "Spring Tidings"! The 2006 original, the newly minted vinyl edition with six tracks in a different order; and the CD version with eight tracks- and all of these to one extent or another, 'different'.

In a way this is emblematic of one of the motifs suggested by this album- set to gorgeous, lush symphonic progressive music, nearly impressionistic lyrics suggest that springtime represents something much deeper and darker and more subjective than any romanticized notion of flowers blooming, birds singing, and new life springing up.

Three versions of many possible versions, any one of these possible, any number of them to be found somewhere at some time- and hopefully one of these will be a hopeful, lustrous springtime that represents a true "city of light...the city to end all night."

My Rating

Four lustrous stars- an "Excellent addition to any progressive rock collection"- and one that may be be experienced (in three versions!) over and over again.

Report this review (#2547100)
Posted Monday, May 31, 2021 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
Honorary Reviewer
4 stars Back in 2006 this was the first album I came across from Poor Genetic Material, although it was in fact their sixth full- length. These days it is viewed as one of their best albums, but the band were never happy with the sound so decided to remix it for a 15th anniversary release. However, nothing is ever as simple as it seems with the drum tracks having to be transferred from technology no longer available while the keyboard tracks could not be rescued at all and would need to be re-recorded. If they wanted to reissue this on vinyl there was another challenge in that it was too short for a double album yet too long for a single, so what should they do? In the end they decided to go for a re-imagining, so we have here a shortened resequenced version of the album with new flute and keyboards, with the whole thing then being remastered.

The result is something which of course is very closely related indeed to the original, but to my ears is somewhat punchier, while the sound has of course been improved. I must confess to having heard only another 3 of their albums over the years, but there is no doubt that this new revitalised version of 'Spring Tidings' is the best. It is rightly viewed as Crossover Prog as it contains elements of different sub genres, with symphonic nestling happily alongside neo, plus that touch of commerciality which makes this such a smooth release to listen to. With years of playing some of this material behind him, Philipp had added additional depth with the new keyboards, with a wonderful mic of styles and sounds with the Mellotron making its presence warmly felt, while Phil's vocals are that much clearer in this version, Stefan's guitars have that much more bite while the rhythm section keeps it all together. There are times when I was being reminded of classic Saga, and I came away from this wondering why it is so long since I played the original (which is on my shelves) as I had forgotten just how good this was.

If you have ever to come across PGM then this is a wonderful place to start.

Report this review (#2785860)
Posted Saturday, August 20, 2022 | Review Permalink

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