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NATURAL SELECTION

Lands End

Psychedelic/Space Rock


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Lands End Natural Selection album cover
3.59 | 37 ratings | 11 reviews | 22% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 1997

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Strictly Speaking In Geographical Terms (1:03)
2. From The Ruins Of A Fallen Empire (14:44)
3. Love Through The Winter And Blood In The Spring (11:36)
4. An Emptiness That Cannot Be Filled (6:03)
5. My Home (10:30)
6. Natural Selection (30:00)
(i) Unravelling The Threads Of A Waning Moon - 4:11
(ii) Meridians Of Time - 2:08
(iii) The Theory And Practice Of Hell: Practice - 6:16 / Theory - 2:00 / & Hell - 9:20
(iv) Awaiting Extinction - 6:05

Total Time: 73:56

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Mark Lavallee / drums
- Fred Hunter / keyboards, bass
- Francisco Neto / guitar, guitar synth
- Jeff McFarland / vocals, acoustic guitar

Releases information

CD Cyclops 047 (LECD6)

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Lower DepthsLower Depths
Import
Cyclops Records 2008
Audio CD$65.51 (used)
DrainageDrainage
Import
Cyclops Records 1998
Audio CD$124.99 (used)
Natural SelectionNatural Selection
Import
Cyclops Records 1998
Audio CD$59.90 (used)
Older LandOlder Land
Import
Cyclops Records 1996
Audio CD$74.95 (used)
Terra SerranumTerra Serranum
Cyclops Records/Wheezy 1999
Audio CD$129.94 (used)
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LANDS END Natural Selection ratings distribution


3.59
(37 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(22%)
22%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(46%)
46%
Good, but non-essential (27%)
27%
Collectors/fans only (5%)
5%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

LANDS END Natural Selection reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Greger
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This is the fourth album by Lands End and the first I have heard. It's a shame I haven't heard them before because this is really good.

They are playing mellow progressive music as good as it can get. Slowly progressing but constantly changing. If you want some comparison, you can mention Pink Floyd and Yes with a little bit of Marillion in it. They've got beautiful guitar solos, a good vocalist, mellotron and a skilled keyboard player.

The album is 74 minutes and contains 6 tracks, and 4 of them are passing 10 minutes, the title track being 30 minutes. When you get away with song lengths like this it's great! I love it! My favourite tracks is the title track "Natural Selection", a progressive masterpiece, and "From The Ruins Of A Fallen Empire".

This is definitely worth checking out if you like the aforementioned groups, and particularly Pink Floyd.

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Send comments to Greger (BETA) | Report this review (#4358) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, January 03, 2004

Review by Hibou
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Being familiar with the band's previous material, I went fishing for "Natural Selection" and ended up being the one that got hooked. "Natural Selection" is perhaps the most sophisticated LANDS END album yet. If their previous material was wonderfully intriguing, this album is simply brilliant. As usual, the music on it is loaded with charm and allure, but it also showcases a cohesiveness never yet found on their previous material. All six tracks are absolutely divine but the real doozie has to be the title track.

Although you'll never hear me equate tracklength with quality, I guarantee you won't want to let this one down until you've heard all 30 minutes of it. It is replete with luscious melodies, weird guitar sound effects and time changes that come in so naturally, the track flows as one and even seems too short! The unexpected German lyrics at some point add to the seduction, but it is the combination of some achingly beautiful musical themes with the spacey, watery arrangements and tight drumming that mesmerizes. At some point, you may hear echoes of PINK FLOYD (the "Brain Damage" track from "Dark Side of the Moon" comes to mind), but you'll never mistake this music for some floydian sound-alike, bubble-gum psychedelia. It's unique, magical, fascinating.

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Send comments to Hibou (BETA) | Report this review (#4361) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Review by Dan Bobrowski
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars There is a reason you see "SUGGESTION" under this album title. It's a gem. Closer to 5 stars simply because it stands as a unique piece among all the other groups attempting to do something creative and unusual and still sounding a bit too much like their influences. Lands End don't wear their heroes on their sleeves.

Jeff McFarland has one of the most emotive, natural sounding voices I've heard in the newer generation. I don't tire of listening to him and his scathing lyrics about America and Democracy ring with anguish and defiance. Powerful messages that convey a sense of loss and bitterness.

Fred Hunter's keyboard work is the centerpiece of the sound, weaving ambient passages with fluttering synth lines and patches which fit the tunes like a glove. Fransico Neto seems at home on a nylon acoustic, synth or electric guitar. Some of the funky wah wah chordal parts at first sounded "out of place" on the first listen, but seemed perfect over time. The two soloist weave tight leads about, over and under creating a sonic web that encircles your mind. Perfect mind journey music. Neto's nylon string work really stands out and adds some world flavor to the music. Well done!

The bass work is handled by Fred Hunter as well. Solid and grooving, no bass solos here, but basic support of the songs. This may be one instance where some syrupy fretless could have elevated the overall picture, but that's just my quirk. Fred just keeps things moving. Drummer Mark Lavallee plays with finesse and verve, keeping these longish tunes from becoming too heavy and plodding.

My favorite track is My Home, a piece about the dream of America becoming corrupted and losing it's allure. A small part of the tune Natural Selection was recorded using two mics in a living room. A improptu German Language piece flows within the synchopated drumming of Lavallee. At first I'd thought there was some problem with my EQ, but soon figured it out. The CD sleeve is my only complaint. It's hard to read the print, though the artwork is matches the mood of the music. The insert under the CD case is nearly illegible through the plastic.

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Send comments to Dan Bobrowski (BETA) | Report this review (#4362) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover Team
4 stars This mezmerizing multi-ethnic band of California-based virtuosos have redefined the new progressive movement, by actively marketing their music in the various prog magazines and deservedly so, for their craft is some of the most continuously creative. Along with their three previous offerings, Lands End strive towards sonic compositions that owe a lot to the great masters of scintillating extended soundscapes , such as mid-period Pink Floyd, early Crimson and classic Yes. But they have a unique sound and style down pat, not overtly complex but rather a voyage in dreamland , a geo-trip through sonic mountains, bubbling oceans, pulsating rain forests, earsplitting waterfalls, desolate flatlands, reptilian rivers and thunderous valleys. The trek ends with a 30 minute Himalayan epic , the title cut, surely their finest moment ever. This is a fine example of "trip" music , as the listener is really taken for a rollercoaster ride, every emotion painstakingly squeezed out like a saturated sponge. All critics seem to agree that this is a classic and a "Natural Selection" for any prog fan. 4 trips

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Send comments to tszirmay (BETA) | Report this review (#4363) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, November 08, 2004

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This was another CD that I purchased sometime in 1998 when I returned back to prog rock - after a silent period when I thought that prog would no longer exist - through Malcolm's Cyclops catalogue. By the time it was the only reference I could use for sourcing good prog bands. Natural Selection is a good album where the music is a blend of Alan Parson's Project, Tangerine Dream and Ozric Tentacles. It's probably too simplistic to say Lands End's similarities with any of the group I mentioned because when I observe in details I can smell an influence from Pink Floyd as well. Le's see on track by track basis so that it helps us build a final conclusion about this album.

Strictly Speaking In Geographical Terms (1:03) is basically a sort of overture that explores a very thin keyboard sound reminiscent of the intro part of "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" by Pink Floyd. Nothing special about this thought provoking title. It's only heavy in title but it's basically nothing in here, I would say.

From The Ruins Of A Fallen Empire (14:44) starts off with an exploration of keyboard sounds and effects typical to any space rock music like Tangerine Dream accentuated by drum. When vocal enters the music, it reminds me a bit of Alan Parson's Project but with space music textures. I have a bit of problem with the way drum set is played; it's annoying to my personal taste, it's so simple with relatively nothing excellent about its sound. Too simple, very little variations. One thing noticeable is the keyboard and electric guitar solo. However, I feel annoyed with a transition piece at approx min 4:10 where the keyboard plays simple notes that will later bring voice line accompanied with acoustic guitar rhythm. This simple melody happens again right after the lyrical part approx. min 6:00. Simply put: the melodies created by the band is too simple that have made me getting bored and annoyed listening to this piece. But the electric guitar solo after this part is truly stunning!

Love Through The Winter And Blood In The Spring (11:36) opens with a Floydian guitar sound in ambient nuance. The percussion and drum sounds enter the scene. Again, I got problem with this percussion and drum sounds - it seems to me there is no such wide variations - it's not as inventive like Ozric's drumming if I compare fairly. It's annoying for me. The vocal line then enters the music with keyboard as main rhythm section followed with a stunning keyboard solo. Rhythm-wise, this track is using the same tagline all over the track. The band puts some solos and sound effects on top of this tagline rhythm. Again, I enjoy the guitar sound exploration in this track.

An Emptiness That Cannot Be Filled (6:03) opens beautifully with an acoustic guitar fills in melodic mood and mellow style. The voice line enters in low register notes accentuated with a nice acoustic guitar work. This part reminds me a bit with Hogarth era Marillion. The song flows smoothly with acoustic guitar as the main rhythm section augmented with a relatively thin sound of keyboard at background. What makes this song excellent is the electric guitar at the ending part - reminiscent of Pink Floyd's Gilmour.

My Home (10:30) begins with an exploration of bass guitar sound and keyboard at the back followed with a music that gradually enters the scene. The culmination of this gradual entry is the part where keyboard and guitar deliver melodic rhythm part just before vocal enters. Wow! The electric guitar solo is truly stunning man! I cannot imagine if there is no guitar solo in this composition; it's gonna be very empty! At approx minute 6:10 there is a nice combination of bass and drum sounds in ambient style - reminiscent of Marillion's Misplaced Childhood.

Natural Selection (total: 30:00) is an epic that comprises 4 parts. It starts really slow at the beginning with relatively long quiet passage. The part when vocal enters accompanied with percussion is really nice. The music style reminds me to Hogarth era Marillion - something like Brave, I would say. The epic has been built around ambient mood with some variations of solo works. Again, I observe the guitar solo is stunning especially when it's combined with keyboard solo in alternate. The problems that I have with this epic are two-folds: it moves so slow that I thought the duration seems like "elongated" to give an image og prog epic (I guess); and there are some transition pieces that do not sound smooth - they seem to be forced to change in different style.

SUMMARY

It's an enjoyable prog music and it's not bad at all. The only thing that I think this album is a kind of lacking probably is the composition. I can prove this with my observations throughout the album on how the musical instruments interact each other to produce musical sounds - it sounds like being forced, not something natural or smooth. As I mentioned, I got problem with the drumming - not because the drummer but more on the composition. It's basically something like:"Hey, why this part must be filled with a sound like this?" or "Not a lot of variations in terms of drum work". And I think that this is a composition issue instead of player's issue. The other thing, still under composition, is the melodies produced by keyboard sometime so annoying - well, it's like something when you listen to it three times you suddenly get bored. Uughh ..!! When it comes to rating, I would give an overall 3 out of 5 stars rating. It's a good prog album. Keep on proggin' ..!!!

Yours progressively,

GW

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#4364) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Review by erik neuteboom
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This USA band evokes the wonderful and pivotal progrock sound from The Seventies: 24- carat symphonic rock featuring long tracks, many changing climates, lots of soli on guitar and keyboards and, last but not least, a frequent appearance of The Mighty Tron! This CD contains six tracks with a running time of more than 70 minutes, almost half of that time is consumed by the titletrack of 30 minutes! The intro contains exotic percussion, followed by a blend of vocals, electric piano and acoustic guitar (including beautiful tremolo play). During this long composition the splendid guitarplay touches me very strongly: fiery and biting with wah-wah, accompanied by lush keyboards. The only negative remark concerns the confusing lay-out. But in general this is good progrock with echoes from early Novalis and Grobschnitt. A FINE AND PLEASANT EFFORT!

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Send comments to erik neuteboom (BETA) | Report this review (#38677) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Review by Nightfly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
2 stars Land's End looked like one of those bands that might really appeal to my tastes, being a blend of Symphonic/Psychedelic Prog. However, since I purchased this album in the late 90's I was left feeling unimpressed by the band. I have given it a number of chances since then but my verdict remains unchanged. What we have here is five tracks (and a short instrumental opener) including one at thirty minutes in length, always a good omen for a Prog fan. The music is fairly mellow and slow paced generally speaking, with a hint of Pink Floyd at times, some nice keyboard sounds and more than competent Guitar playing.

So what exactly is the problem? Well, I find the music is not particularly well structured and the compositions are on the weak side, lacking strong melodies and memorable hooks. I have a bit of a problem with the Drumming too which is fairly weak, the Drummers timing being fairly poor much of the album and after many of the fills he appears to struggle to get back into the groove on time. I don't like to be totally negative about an album though and there are one or two moments where they nail it, particularly towards the end of the album on My Home and thirty minute title track Natural Selection which has a long instrumental section which reminds me a little of Camel in places.

So overall, not a total disaster but with so much good Progressive Rock out there competing for your attention I would only recommend this album for fans and completionists.

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Send comments to Nightfly (BETA) | Report this review (#148651) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, November 03, 2007

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I was disappointed with "Lands End" last album "An Older Land". It lacked in creativity and was a kind of hurry over (the band actually recorded in TWO days).

What I liked the most with "Lands End" were their long compositions, the great atmosphere which radiates out of them and the so special feeling one can get while listening to their music.

And this is exactly what one will get again with "Natural Selection".

I just felt in love with the great "From the Ruins of a Fallen Empire". Fully Floydian, extremely melodic vocals, great and Gilmour- esque guitar flavours. It is an excellent and emotional song. And the whole of this album will spread out the same feeling.

The second long number (10+ minutes) "Love through the Winter and Blood in the Spring" has this sweet character of their own. No shouts, no hardness. Pure passionate music. And I really like this. The keys played in this song will of course remind you "Floyd" again (even the drumming sometimes sounds as the one that can be heard during "Time") but this fact doesn't bother me.

Smooth vocals are another TM from this band. Maybe that some of you might find them a bit monochord but they fit perfectly the music. The short "An Emptiness that's never Filled" (six minutes "only") is a good illustration of this. Another great guitar solo is highlighting this good track.

"My Home" is the harder number of this very good album. The finale is a pure marvel : strong beat and wonderful melody. Another good song. But so far, this album is truly impressive.

If ever you are keen on long compositions (like myself), the closing number "Natural Selection" is probably apt to draw your attention. It is a bit long to kick off but the quiet mood of the first movement IS flesh and bones from "Lands End". Pleasant Spanish acoustic guitar for this ambient part.

The crescendo structure of the third movement breaks this feeling. A long and fascinating build up which leads to a fully harmonious and beautiful guitar solo. Background keys are sustaining and the rhythm catches up rather comfortably.

This lengthy and beautiful track evolves into a mix of purely symphonic and spacey music which certainly deserves your attention. I'm glad to see that this album has been reviewed a little more than their other works. You should really check out this good band and start either with "Natural Selection" or their debut album "Pacific Coast Highway".

These thirty minutes aren't boring at all. They are diverse, well played and should transport any "Floyd" fan into another galaxy. This aspect being maybe too present for some purists and the most orthodox of the prog fans. This is maybe the reason why I do not rate this album with five stars : personality of the work could have been higher (just listen to the finale of "The Theory And Practice Of Hell" and its fully "DSOTM" sounds.

The pessimistically titled "Awaiting Extinction" being the most upbeat section. An excellent fireworks to close this great epic which is mostly instrumental.

A super long album with super music. Four stars.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#154702) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, December 08, 2007

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars LANDS END should work for me but the combination of poor sounding vocals and songs that just haven't appealed to me have left me disappointed. "Natural Selection" is the best album I have heard from these guys and i do really like what they've done here as far as the songs go for the most part but again the vocals are just so weak in my opinion. Another long one here at 74 minutes including the 30 minute title track but there's lot to like here.

"Strictly Speaking In Geographical Terms" is a short one minute intro of faint sounds. "From The Ruins Of A Fallen Empire" kicks in right away then spacey sounds take over as the drums continue.Vocals a minute in. It settles with piano 4 minutes in followed by vocals and strummed guitar. Electric guitar replaces the vocals. Piano and synths only after 8 1/2 minutes.Vocals are back after 10 minutes. Some guitar expressions late as it blends into "Love Through The Winter And Blood In The Spring". Drums join in as the guitar continues. The guitar stops before 1 1/2 minutes as vocals come in. Drums and guitar with a pulsing sound then the synths lead. It's spacey late and we get some atmosphere as it blends into "An Emptiness That Cannot Be Filled". Acoustic guitar takes over as reserved vocals join in. It slowly builds.Vocals stop and tasteful guitar comes in soaring. It blends into "My Home" which is mellow and instrumental to start.Vocals with a beat before 2 1/2 minutes.

"Natural Selection" is divided into 4 parts although it just shows it as one long song on the stereo. It sounds exotic early on then percussion takes over soon to be joined by vocals and intricate guitar. It stays mellow for some time then it kicks in briefly, then the tempo picks up and it gets fuller.This is good. Guitar before 11 minutes and it's building. Fantastic sound here.The guitar stops and vocals come in before 13 1/2 minutes.The gutar is back after 16 minutes. It turns uptempo and it's quite catchy around 24 minutes.The guitar sounds good 26 minutes in then the vocals return before 28 minutes.

This is where I would suggest you start if you want to test the waters with this band. Some impressive instrumental passages on this one make this a 3.5 star rating.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#436308) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Latest members reviews

5 stars I've long considered this the best Progressive Rock album of the 90's. It's rare for a band to compose songs of lengths over 10 minutes which feel natural and keep the interest of the listener. Lands End's music has that natural development feel to the songs. None of the changes ever feel for ... (read more)

Report this review (#4365) | Posted by | Wednesday, April 06, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is my first...Lands end record that is!! This is their 1997 album "Natural selection". By the sound of it..i really have to go back (in their catalogue that is)to search out the other albums...as this is indeed very good..its a bit on the..dare i say it..slow side... now dont get me wrong.. ... (read more)

Report this review (#4359) | Posted by Tonny Larz | Wednesday, April 07, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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