Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Lands End - Pacific Coast Highway CD (album) cover


Lands End

Psychedelic/Space Rock

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Bookmark and Share
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Here is a strong first album by California-based band LANDS END. It is psychedelic prog at its best with emotionally charged lyrics, very accessible yet extremely potent music; it is somehow reminiscent of PINK FLOYD yet far more meaningful (as if the FLOYD had provided the packaging and LANDS END the substance). Many bands have dabbled in psychedelic music since the 60's but none sound as melodious and entrancing as this foursome. It takes perhaps two or three listens to get hooked but once you are, you just can't get enough.

Most tracks often start with simple atmospherics such as with the sound of waves mixed with floating guitars; they then give way to strong, energetic guitar play and shiver-inducing keyboards. The melodies are calm, refined and powerful all at once, and the percussion is tight yet never gets in the way. Many tracks are above the 10-minute mark, the only 'poppy' one being the 6-minute "Persistent Memories". Listening to LANDS END's music is perhaps the closest you'll ever get to a high without the help of old ''maryjane'. It makes its way into your brain so slowly you don't even notice. The next thing you know is you're soaring along with it, floating on the waves of Neptune. Unlike 'maryjane', however, it is very, very addictive. Cool stuff.

Report this review (#4350)
Posted Friday, May 7, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars LANDS END first album has stuck in my mind since the day I picked up this little gem. Although I will admit that this album suffers a bit from weak production quality and studio editing, it leaves it mark for this music lover in terms of performance. LANDS END draw on the symphonic tendencies of PENDRAGON with the lyrics of MONA FALLS and blends in the musical prowess of IQ and MARILLION. Line up includes Mark Lavallee on drums, Jeff McFarland on vocals, Fred Hunter on bass and keyboards and Francisco Neto on guitars. I guess this is what would be classified Neo-Prog by those who look for classification. The end result is a magical album full of 4 creative and original sounding epic tracks that work very well. Although later albums by LANDS END are clearly more polished I think 'PCH' was their most creative and oroginal outing.
Report this review (#4351)
Posted Saturday, October 23, 2004 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars This is better than the follow-up record "Terra Serranum" in just about every way imo.The negatives are the vocals which are not the bands strong point, and as James Unger points out, the production and editing are weak too. Having said all that, there is something very compelling about this their first studio release that is hard to narrow down. It may be the fact that California is the focus of this record, along with the ocean of course. It's called "Pacific Coast Highway" and this band happens to be from California as well. There is a lot of samplings of waves on this record, as well as those PINK FLOYD-like soundscapes with spacey synths and soaring guitars. Also there is a Neo-Prog flavour that pops up once in a while.

"Conspicuously Empty" opens with the sounds of someone walking before synths and drums take over before a minute. A good beat arrives a minute later. A calm 4 minutes in as vocals then keys come in.The tempo picks up 6 1/2 minutes in. Guitars after 7 minutes. The beat is back after 9 1/2 minutes and vocals are back too. It blends into "Neptune's Last Tear-Part 1:Pacific Coast Highway" is a short piece of waves, synths and sea gulls. "Requiem Of The Sea" opens with a beat as synths wash in followed by acoustic guitar. It changes after 3 minutes as we get a calm and ocean sounds. Synths come in then vocals at 5 1/2 minutes. More ocean sounds 11 minutes in as it settles. A fuller sound with drums before 12 minutes.Vocals return and some good guitar.

"Persistant Memories" opens with not much going on until the guitar arrives at 1 1/2 minutes, vocals follow. A calm 4 minutes in then it kicks back in. "At Land's End" opens with keys and synths before drums come in and start to lead the way. It settles with guitar before 4 minutes.This contrast continues. Another calm before 9 minutes. The guitar after 10 1/2 minutes is fantastic. The guitar rips it up until around 13 1/2 minutes when synths and drums take over. Piano ends it. "The Last Word" is spacey with synths and drums. Guitar and vocals a minute later. It becomes really spacey after 4 minutes. The guitar after 7 minutes is crying out. Nice.

I hope one day to drive on the "Pacific Coast Highway" but until then this will have to do.

Report this review (#93544)
Posted Thursday, October 5, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars I like the ambient and very relaxing music featured on "Pacific Coast Highway". "Lands End" is made of some Californian musicians deeply influenced by the sea. I quite like the descripton made in their bio : "Aquatic" prog.

The major influence is Floyd. Once you have listened to the fantastic opening track, you should be convinced. They will even add some poppisch sounds (some sort of instrumental chorus). Vocals are very smooth (to fit the music) and the music performed is just so pleasant. Lots of synthesizers and excellent guitar solo (fully Gilmouresque). A great opener and already a highlight.

But the whole of this album is so beautiful...Of course, this is very tranquil music. Listening to this while being exhausted or nervous is a very good and drug-less therapy. Do try it. Even a short track as "Neptunes Last Tear" holds some nice elements.

The second highlight is the peaceful and harmonious "Requiem Of The Sea". Some of you might feel it a bit sleepy but that's what "Lands End" music is all about.

"Persistant Memories" is a bit more rhytmy and is a good break at almost half time of this release. Because, "Lands End" will always release long albums. The chorus is even somewhat poppy. Unexpected but pleasant. And even if the longest track is not brilliant, "At Lands End" features a somptuous guitar solo which revitalize it rather effectively.

The long closing number "The Last Word" has very melodic vocals which is to be mentioned since this album is almost instrumental. Another highlight.

This work is definitely connected with "Floyd". The early one and the later one. At times eevn combined in one song ("The Last Word"). Needless to say that I very much like this.

Four stars.

Report this review (#150373)
Posted Monday, November 12, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is another shining example of prog jewels lost in the mayhem of past glories and new releases. In many ways it is amateurish, yet it continues to spark my smile whenever I run across it in my bookcase, a luscious extravagance that has three unshakable characteristics that never fail to amaze: enthusiasm, dedication and musicianship. Yes, there are strong Floyd emanations in the sweeping compositions, laden with assorted special aquatic effects (one of their favorite themes as they come from California) but these are lads that really learnt their prog-history lessons well and espoused the spacey traditions to their fullest. They are dedicated to their own sound and the results are laudatory .As for the musicians ,Drummer Mark Lavallée is splashy and hyper, rifling beats all over the place, Fred Hunter mans a simple bass and an arsenal of keys very much in the "less is better" Rick Wright school of playing, Brazilian ex-pat guitarist Francisco Neto is a wizard and a true star, a clearly imaginative fretmeister that is an odd combination of Gilmour/Santana, while singer Jeff McFarland favors a style that may shock a few of you , a frantic, urgent quasi Robert Smith of the Cure method of delivery that is highly original. "Conspicuously Empty" is an 11 minute example of these well-designed talents, highly cinematographic and dense. The supremely ambient "Requiem of the Sea" cascades gently at first, waves of slashing waves interspersed with a dizzying Flamenco- style acoustic guitar serenade that is priceless, becoming highly arousing, with sounds of whooshing gales, images of ominous clouds and the aroma of a swelling tide. This voluptuous track is space/psychedelic prog at its shiny zenith, deliberate, unhurried, conspicuously ardent and hypnotic. A snail-like promenade on synths and mellotrons shovels the pace along, with serene vocals pleading for some nautical respite, amid the jangling guitars and the funeral procession drums. The exit lead guitar solo is splendid in first restraint and then explosion, a tremendous tour de force. WOW! "Persistant Memories" is a more upbeat arrangement while remaining deeply entrenched in the lush harmonies that this band obviously aspires to maintain! The approach here is closer to outright Space Rock, very moody at first with assorted drum rolls and strands of wispy guitar licks, then propulsed ahead by a haunting guitar riff that initiates a blistering run into a gorgeous chorus, a grandiose and memorable piece of progressive melancholia ("I still got my yesterday"), a gentle mid-section and an even more brutal charge forward, full of agony and regret. I mean what can you not like here? "At Lands End" is the longest track at over 15 minutes and it's a sonic voyage to say the least! The initial effervescence is highly electronic yet somehow disjointed until the sibilant synthesizers take over the reins with elegant command, steering the piece into even denser soundscapes. Nothing too technical or flashy, just solid sustenance for the melodies. Nothing is Rushed (sorry Geddy!), the prog Turtle versus the Hare. The diamond here is the whopping Neto guitar detonation, a virtuoso performance that would make the "Comfortably Numb" one blush with envy. "The Last Word" is my fave track , a stirring, sprawling and spooky theme that has an eerie feel thanks to some desperate vocals, a desolate slowburn that weaves into a palpable drum and cymbal-heavy space (a slight Crimson feel at times) and a clear destination as this is the finale stretch of the album, with what else but a massive guitar solo that is truly Gilmourian, big bent notes soaring high above the synthesized vortex, howling mellotrons and furious drumming all around. Floyd fans beware, this is the bright side of the moon! A masterful underappreciated epic slab of pure prog that warrants your attention. All in all , this is a fantastic album .Guess what colour the cover artwork is? Yeah! PINK .Not perfect but very very close. 4.5 Erik Estradas
Report this review (#237854)
Posted Sunday, September 6, 2009 | Review Permalink

LANDS END Pacific Coast Highway ratings only

chronological order | showing rating only

Post a review of LANDS END Pacific Coast Highway

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.