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John Wesley

Crossover Prog

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John Wesley Chasing Monsters album cover
2.71 | 20 ratings | 2 reviews | 10% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2002

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Chasing Monsters (4:31)
2. Fly Boy (4:19)
3. Who We Love (5:15)
4. Velvet Dreams (3:19)
5. Wrench (3:37)
6. In Sight of the Rainbow (4:01)
7. A Well Placed Hole (3:59)
8. All or Nothing (4:16)
9. Trip and Fall (2:42)
10. Disappeared (5:51)
11. Showing Happy to the World (7:16)

Total Time 49:06

Line-up / Musicians

- John Wesley / guitars, vocals
- Mark Prator / drums, percussion
- Patrick Bettison / bass
- J. Robert / mandolin, violin
- Tracy LaBarbera / Keyboards (track 2), backing vocals (tracks 2, 3)
- Eric De Wolf / programming (track 7)

Thanks to windhawk for the addition
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JOHN WESLEY Chasing Monsters ratings distribution

(20 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(10%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(15%)
Good, but non-essential (55%)
Collectors/fans only (15%)
Poor. Only for completionists (5%)

JOHN WESLEY Chasing Monsters reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Conor Fynes
2 stars 'Chasing Monsters' - John Wesley (4/10)

The most versatile, but alas, the least memorable of John Wesley's discography, 'Chasing Monsters' sees the singer-songwriter (of Porcupine Tree fame) range from subtle acoustic work to blown up psychedelia, all the while maintaining his warm and intimate sense of delivery. While John Wesley is generally quite a consistent artist and the execution here is up to par, it feels like the songwriting here lacks something that was usually present on other works; a sense of emotional impact.

Perhaps it was a result of his experimentation with a wider range of sounds, but the signature style of warm storytelling and sweet melodies doesn't seem to be here in such a satisfying quantity. While going to ambitious lengths as to include mandolin and violin sounds here, it's quite surprising that the music doesn't have nearly as much of an effect on me as I would hope. While albums like the excellent 'Shiver' would go to prove what a talented singer- songwriter the man is as well as throw in the dynamic and progressive theme, 'Chasing Monsters' doesn't feel nearly as inspired a work. In fact, the only track here that really stands out is the title track, which is a very acoustically-driven song.

'Chasing Monsters' is arguably the weakest album in John Wesley's discography, but it still holds a few moments and tracks that impress. As a whole however, I do find myself a bit disappointed.

Review by Prog Leviathan
3 stars Chasing Monsters is a solid crossover album with soulful songs, dark grooves, layers of electric guitar, and John Wesley's distinct vocals. If you're unfamiliar with Wesley (you probably are... this album has very few reviews!), he's known mostly to prog fans as a frequent Porcupine Tree collaborator. That being said, this is definitely a distinct work that while lacking the depth of a PT release, has plenty of the same sophistication and grace.

Chasing Monsters is a diverse collection of mostly melancholy and guitar heavy songs that combine Wesley's talents as singer/songwriter/guitarist. He isn't a master at any one of these roles, but is exceptionally good at all of them. The songs in this album are sometimes noisy, sometimes delicate, sometimes uplifting, and sometimes lamentful. They're not prog or art rock in the pure sense but are performed with a lot of class that will appeal to many listeners as a more straightforward rock release.

Wesley's voice is a soulful, bluesy croon in an upper register that is unique and enjoyable. His guitar playing, while somewhat messy, feels very real and raw, complementing the tone of these songs. His treatment of rhythm guitars can create a lush density to the songs as well. Lyrically we're given a lot of metaphors for the human experience, sometimes set to genuinely good hooks and melodies.

The songwriting is at times generic which may grate on some prog fans' ears, but Wesley at his most bland is still head and shoulders above the kind of over-produced schlock you'll hear on contemporary radio.

So overall an enjoyable art-rock diversion from a solid singer/songwriter/guitarist. This is not Wesley's best album, but it's reliably enjoyable and should be investigated for those seeking something light yet artistic.

Songwriting: 2 - Instrumental Performances: 3 - Lyrics/Vocals: 3 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 3

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