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Kevin Gilbert - Thud CD (album) cover


Kevin Gilbert

Crossover Prog

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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "We're living here in Joytown, the City of the Sun . And everyone loves everyone loves every single one." - Joytown

This is my second album after I have enjoyed "The Shaming of The True" (2000). Kevin Gilbert, who contributed wonderfully in a compilation album "Supper's Ready" - a tribute to Genesis (Magna Carta, 1995), re-arranged "Back In NYC" in totally different way than the original version. The other contribution he ventured was on the Yes tribute compilation "Tales From Yesterday"; under the name of STANLEY SNAIL featuring Kevin Gilbert and Mike Keneally. He performed "Siberian Khatru". It's another excellent performance even though it's not radically different than Yes studio album except the inclusion of one of Bruford's melody taken from solo album during the interlude segment. By the time Nick D'Virgilio (later was popular with his Spock's Beard) wasn't famous yet. With this background, combined with information available at his website, I could sense the kind of music style that Kevin Gilbert has adopted.

Thud was meant to be the sound one's head makes as it hits the table. That's why, the cover photo represents the Baron George Hoyningen-Huene having "A Vision at Glyphada.". Photographer Herbert List captured his head hitting the table on the plains of Glyphada, Greece in 1937. Through this album Kevin locked himself in the studio, played most of the instruments.

As I have reviewed the latter album, I can only say that the style of this album is roughly similar (65%) with "The Shaming of The True" where the music focuses on the use of acoustic guitar, powerful lyrics and accentuated vocal style in which Kevin called it as the vitriolic vocals with the overall style is like an unplugged music. The album opener "When You Give Your Love to Me" (3:20), for example, starts with acoustic guitar rhythm followed with Kevin's powerful vocal with strong accents. The music flows seamlessly with acoustic guitar plays important role as rhythm plus drum as beat keeper. But still, vocal is the key driver of song structure and composition. "Goodness Gracious" (4:08) starts interestingly with a blues-based acoustic guitar work followed with even more powerful (and great!) vocal quality. The incorporation of electric guitar sound at the back is good. "Joytown" (4:53) continues the music to the City of The Sun's journey . Composed with music loop as basic song structure the song moves excellently with Kevin's singing style. Even though there are many repeated rhythm, I really like this song as Kevin's vocal moves ups and downs with the flow of the song. The lyrics also excellent especially when it's combined with Kevin's singing with accentuation. Sax work is incorporated at the end of the track.

"Waiting" (5:05) is a boring track for me as it contains repeated segments. "Tea for One" (5:49) is a good melodic song with simple structure and Kevin's low register notes vocal. I think his voice could have filled-up Genesis' music when Peter Gabriel left the band. This song is really cool. "Shadow Self" is also characterized with acoustic guitar rhythm at the beginning but the song moves up into high points with distorted vocal augmented with great drumming and inventive bass lines. This is the only song that has different style compared to the others - it has some symphonic nuance as well. And I think, this kind of composition has inspired (or in a way influenced) the music of Spock's Beard "The Light" album. Well, this 6th track can be considered as one of my favorite tracks.

"The Tears of Audrey" (4:47) is a mellow track with low register notes voice line. The melody is good, the arrangement is simple. It's like a pop song and it's cool. "Shrug (Because of Me and You)" (3:54) another pop-rock song in slow tempo with firm drum beats and cool guitar fills. Kevin's vocals combine a balanced high and low points. "All Fall Down" (5:35) is a melodic song with good arrangement. "Song for a Dead Friend" (5:56) concludes the album in a dark mood with soft piano touch during opening that reminds me to Peter Gabriel's "Here Comes The Flood" nuance. Yes, only the nuance, and it's not a rip-off at all.

Overall, please don't expect that this is a typical album of any art rock or classic prog music. It's an acoustic guitar based composition with main characteristic on powerful vocal quality of Kevin Gilbert. Even though it's acoustic guitar driven, it's not a folk prog at all. Kevin's music has its own style.You might here that some sounds produced here have influenced Spock's Beard in some segments. Irrespective this is as prog or not I would say at the end that the music is what really counts. With that perspective, this album deserves a four-star rating.Keep on proggin' ..!

Progressively yours, GW

Report this review (#40223)
Posted Monday, July 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Kevin Gilbert might have turned Genesis around and heralded a third era for that band. He was due to audition for the band he held in such high esteem, but sadly he died in tragic circumstances in 1996. Listening to this 1995 album and the posthumously released 'Shaming of the True' in 2000, you realise what a loss he was. Its difficult not to get angry when you realise how talented he was - at least he left behind a legacy of fantastic music. 'When You Give Your Love To Me' is a heartfelt song, a acoustically driven ballad which includes the line "I'm sick of angry, lesbian, militant, feminists" which serves to remind us that there is a sense of irony present throughout. "Goodness Gracious" is more uptempo but still seems angry - it complains that "The baby boomers had it all, and wasted everything" and that there is "No sex that isn't dangerous" as well as "We're the clean-up crew for parties we were too young to attend". Track three "Joytown" is a future echo of "City of the Sun" from 'The Shaming of the True'. Its a place where "Lennon never has to sing a Paul McCartney song" and "No one sells his roommates stuff so he can get a fix". His voice seems to break theatrically in places as Gilbert despairs of the place. "Waiting" is next up and is a pretty catchy song, its tone is still heavy on the darker side of things and while he is "Waiting for love to come" he is also "Waiting for you to run". Next up is "Tea For One" - an upbeat disco reggae stomper- actually its not that at all, just checking if you are keeping up. It is in fact a moody song with some killer hooks, its a memorable late night track for discerning listeners. Kevin Gilbert writes some fantastic lyrics and this song is full of them. Lyrics are as important as the music to me - and in this area Gilbert excells. "Shadow Self" follows on and is pretty Gabriel-like, I'd love to hear THAT version. Two minutes in and the song really comes to life - its my favourite on the album. "The Tears of Audrey" with its "From now on I'm through with love, from now on I will not love again" lays its heart firmly on its sleeve. Its basically a sad song - its also haunting and beautiful. "Shrug (because of me and you)" and "All fall down" fit in nicely with the rest of the album but don't seem so memorable to me. "Song for a Dead Friend" opens with melacholy piano and just grips your soul - its very moving. It manages to capture the emotions of pain and loss and encapsulates something lost. Ultimately we lost Gilbert himself, and listening to this will test whether you have a heart or not.
Report this review (#65899)
Posted Saturday, January 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Brilliant. Complexity Made Simple. You're not going to get the technical prowess, or the overbearing theoretical gobbledygook, or the "show off solos," or the use of a symphony, or ambient noises, or the prog epic here. Nope. The complexity found here is in Kevin Gilbert's ability to make his songs talk for him. Replace his masterful lyrics with a lead keyboard part, and the music loses nothing. You'd still be able to know what he's saying. His beautiful lyrics are just the icing on the cake. Complexity is subtle here, perhaps that is what is so complex about it. This review comes with a fun story. Bored in the rain, I decided to take a drive up to the local Record store, hoping to score some Flower Kings albums. Alas, I could not find anything of the sort. I did, however but Rush's Moving Pictures, Hemishperes, Spock's Beard's Beware of Darkness, Supertramp's Breakfast in America, and Styx's Grand Illusion. While looking for some Glass Hammer, I notived Kevin Gilbert's album, Thud. It was very low cost, and I heard the name in discussion with people about latter-day Genesis. I though I'd just pick it up for one more. What the heck, it was a rainy day and there was nothing else to do. Later, I found Neal Morse's Sola Scriptura and Proto-Kaw's Wait of Glory. When I got home, the first CD on the pile was Thud. All the songs seemed short, I thought it'd be a quick listen. Boy was I wrong. From the opening notes of "When YOu GIve YOur Love To Me" all the way to the gut-wrenching "Song for a Dead Friend" I was mystefied. I have not had a listening experience since I first heard Karn Evil 9 on the radio (my first Prog Experience). Mr. Gilbert pulls off some really emotional stuff here. He loves music. It's quite clear that he does this becuase he loves music and for no other reason. He pours his heart into every song. My frends have even told me that they think this music is too emotional for my normal stuff. Since I bought Thud with the plethora of other albums, the only one that has been played in its entirety has been Thud. To me, it's even more emotional than Marbles by Marillion. Its refreshing to hear an obviously gifted artist put his all into each song. Oftentimes, emotion gets lost in the pomp of the screaming solos and attack of 64th notes. Kevin Gilbert makes complexity simple. It's a crying shame more people here have not rated this album. 5 Stars.
Report this review (#134367)
Posted Wednesday, August 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars It's difficult to put into words how talented the late Kevin Gilbert was. To quote Andy Thompson of Planet Mellotron : "By all accounts a musical prodigy-capable of playing any song he heard on any instrument handed to him-Gilbert possessed an impeccable sense of melody and a biting, cynical wit". I strongly suggest you read the excellent bio here at ProgArchives. He was a big fan of SPOCK'S BEARD and a supporter of those ProgFest's in LA in the nineties. He helped with the sound and lent his mellotron and other musical equipment to any band who wanted to use them. As far as this album goes the lyrics are simply genius. Absolutely brilliant in many ways.

"When You Give Your Love To Me" is mostly vocals and strummed acoustic guitar until the drums join in.This is all about the lyrics though. Some great lines in this one. "Goodness Gracious" opens with acoustic guitar as vocals and mellotron join in. Electric guitar comes and goes. A full sound a minute in. Some nice bass in this one. More mellotron late. Great tune. "Joytown" has these nice deep sounds but it's all about the lyrics as Kevin looks at this mythical place called "Joytown" where everything is the way it's supposed to be and everyone loves everyone. Lines like "Jimi plays the perfect note that never seems to end". Sax late. Brilliant stuff. "Waiting" opens with drums and percussion as guitar and organ join in. Vocals follow. The vocal melodies are a nice touch. Again the lyrics are humerous and witty.

"Tea For One" is such a gorgeous and uplifting track. A top three for sure. Cool story too. "Shadow Self" opens with strummed guitar as vocals come in. I like the processed backup vocals and the mellotron here. It gets fuller after 1 1/2 minutes. They're kicking it good 5 1/2 minutes in. "The Tears Of Audrey" opens with strummed guitar and reserved vocals. Drums and bass join in. Sad song. The bass and drums sound so good early on "Shrug (Because Of Me And You)". Mellotron comes in and it sounds outstanding. "All Fall Down" is solemn with horns to open as fragile vocals join in. The chorus is brighter as he sings about having a good time before we all fall down (die). "Song For A Dead Friend" is such a sad song about losing a close friend. Piano, acoustic guitar and reserved vocals. Check out the lyrics though.Gulp.

Thanks for the music Kevin, you won't be forgotten.

Report this review (#224674)
Posted Sunday, July 5, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Thud is an album by progressive rock musician Kevin Gilbert. This is an incredible album that is different than anything a pop, prog, or rock fan is used to. It's an excellent combination of the three with superb lyrics from one of the best in the genre.

Thud is a mostly mellow album with acoustic guitars and nice melodies. Don't be expecting any complexity, speed, or other things often associated with progressive rock. This is VERY different from anything you've ever heard, and can only be explained when you hear it, so don't go in expecting Yes or Genesis.

The lyrics are some of the best I've ever heard, and they are really what the album is circled around. From witty humor to excellent analogies and inner meanings, this is really what the album's main focus is. It has some songs about tragedies such as "Song for A Dead Friend", "Tears of Audrey" or "Tea for One". All of the songs I just mentioned are some of my favorites from the album. The melodies are absolutely beautiful, and the arrangements are perfect. It can be argued that many of the songs are pop, but who really cares? This is some of the best music I've ever heard!

"Joytown" has the best lyrics of all. It's about a place where everything is just absolutely perfect, with nothing wrong. So without further adieu I must quote some lines from this song:

"Senator McCarthy enjoys a book by Marx And people tear down parking lots So they can build more parks And Jimi plays the perfect note that never seems to end and Martin Luther King has got a blond white girlfriend"

The music on this track also seems to build incredibly without even noticing it. You almost get in a trance with the unstoppable beat and bassline. Kevin goes from merely singing softly to almost screaming near the end. And all of the songs contain something like that that is intriguing in a way that only few artists can capture.

It's not complex and doesn't have epic song lengths, so how is it prog?

The answer is simple. Progressive rock does not HAVE to be either of those things. If you can hear various influences, and is intelligent music with elaborate compositions and is still more than typical pop music, it can be described as progressive rock.

Excellent music, superb lyrics, and a genius behind it all makes this an excellent album that any prog fan should own. I can't quite get myself to give this five stars, but it is a flawless album that is a true hidden gem.

Rest In Peace Kevin


Report this review (#227973)
Posted Thursday, July 23, 2009 | Review Permalink

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