Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography


Pattern-Seeking Animals

Crossover Prog

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Pattern-Seeking Animals Spooky Action at a Distance album cover
3.94 | 42 ratings | 4 reviews | 21% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

Write a review

from partners
Studio Album, released in 2023

Songs / Tracks Listing

CD 1 (61:06)
1. The Man Made of Stone (7:01)
2. Window to the World (3:58)
3. What Waitz Me? (5:22)
4. He Once Was (12:17)
5. Underneath the Orphan Moon (3:53)
6. Clouds That Never Rain (5:17)
7. Bulletproof (4:17)
8. Somewhere North of Nowhere (6:46)
9. Summoned from Afar (7:33)
10. Love Is Still the Light (4:42)

CD 2 (32:09)
11. There Goes My Baby (Bonus track) (3:50)
12. Orphans of the Universe (Live at ProgStock 2022) (10:39)
13. Elegant Vampires (Live at ProgStock 2022) (4:27)
14. Time Has a Way (Live at ProgStock 2022) (13:13) *

Total Time 93:15

* - CD & Digital album only

Line-up / Musicians

- Ted Leonard / lead vocals, guitar
- John Boegehold / ynths, programming, Mellotron, guitars, electric sitar, charango, ronrocco, vihuela, mandocello, autoharp, string arrangements and vocals
- Dave Meros / bass
- Jimmy Keegan / drums, percussion and vocals

- Abbie Parker / backing vocals (1, 4, 10, 11)
- Diane Boothby / backing vocals (1, 2, 5, 6, 10)
- Marcella Detroit / backing vocals (6)
- Holly Rix / backing vocals (7, 9)
- Ivy Marie / backing vocals (11)
- Liz Hanks / cello (1)
- Vesislava / cello (3)
- Alex Bone / tenor sax (4)
- Maisie Ireland / cor anglais (4)
- Sue Winsburg / flute (4, 9)
- Rich Mangicaro / percussion (4, 7-9)
- Gary Cambra / additional guitar (10)

- Quartet405 / strings (5, 6):
- Eliza James / violin
- Rebecca Schlappich Charles / violin
- Jennifer Wu / viola
- Danica Pinner / cello

Releases information

Produced by John Boegehold

Label: InsideOut Music
Format: Vinyl, CD, Digital
October 27, 2023

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to Transguadalupe & NotAProghead for the last updates
Edit this entry

Buy PATTERN-SEEKING ANIMALS Spooky Action at a Distance Music

PATTERN-SEEKING ANIMALS Spooky Action at a Distance ratings distribution

(42 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(21%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(48%)
Good, but non-essential (26%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

PATTERN-SEEKING ANIMALS Spooky Action at a Distance reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Though I own and enjoy all their studio albums, this 2023 offering is my first review of this talented US band, often described as a Spock's Beard offshoot because of common musicians, a group that just never stuck with me even though I have 4 albums of theirs! Pattern-Seeking Animals have always impressed me with some intricate yet addictive melodies that seem to be the hallmark of their craft. The talent of former Enchant and SB vocalist and guitarist Ted Leonard is literally off the charts, a rather intoxicating duality that leaves a very strong imprint on the material. Bassist extraordinaire Dave Meros is a stalwart four string figure and combined with Jimmy Keegan on the drums, they certainly can be labelled as the dynamic duo. The unheralded keyboardist John Boegenhold remains perhaps the main reason why the incredible melodies have such an understated majesty to them, as his interventions colour the entire spectrum of soundscapes that litter all the tracks throughout their discography.

Immediate impact is achieved on the highly melodic "The Man Made of Stone", a perfect prog opener as it charms the ear from the get-go, drizzling all the ingredients discussed above with a measured equilibrium and expectant pace. After the amazing voice engrave the verses and the main chorus with conviction, the slithering synths, cello and mellotron interventions elevate the track into celestial heights, imaginative beyond the norm and crowned with a soaring Leonard guitar solo that dances with the orchestral backdrop. Tremendous piece. Two concise tracks present a more accessible, fun side to the playlist, as the spotlight shines on Leonard's dazzling vocal intricacies, tick-tock percussive meters, and inspired playing by all involved. "Window to the World" also has a deep bass splurge that shoves this piece along succinctly. That same swirly 'pattern-seeking' bass introduces "What Awaits Me" and its ghostly outlook mostly due to the glacial keyboard backdrop, with a leather-lunged vocal and a glittering prize guitar solo from Ted, finished off by a mellotron permeation.

"He Once Was" shows how well some American bands can perform the British prog style, as this 12 minute + epic has an illustrious amount of diversity in the numerous transitions, at times vocally playfully pastoral, then intensely passionate, before unleashing their instrumental dexterity, once again initiated by that carving bass. Stinging synths, shaking guitar riffs and a colossal pulse lead the extended arrangement into glorious imagery, full of mystery and imagination (to quote the earlier Edgar A. Poe) and intoxicating melodic intent. When Leonard reverts to his microphone, the stimulating atmosphere becomes a bucolic sing along that escalates into quite the anthem. Ted whips out his electric guitar and proceeds to slay this dragon aided, and abetted with a textbook sax solo that adds the coup de grace. 'They are on their way home'.

A return to three shorter tracks, beginning with a more conventional ballad in "Underneath the Orphan Moon", nothing complicated but expertly assembled with electrifying orchestrations and a huge vocal delivery that convinces without the slightest doubt. Meros underlines it all with his mellifluous bass, assisting Ted into another brief guitar blast and an ornate piano finale. The romping "Clouds That Never Rain" has a quirky feel, with harmony vocals supporting the lead vocal, a few addictive twists and turns that enchant (pun intended), a radio friendly piece that has cleverness and curiosity as the main draws. "Bulletproof" has an original early prog texture at first, with an echoing e-piano leading way, mellotron not far behind, evolving into a very comfortable place, raising the roof on a chorus that veers towards the dramatic.

Mini-epic time arrives back at the orbiting station, "Somewhere North of Nowhere" is another example of how the contrasts can be found within the same piece, as if a duel between two differing places or situations, incorporating instrumental complexity into the basic melodic mix, perhaps showcasing the exact definition which makes this band so interesting. Leonard has always been a fabulous singer but in this ongoing progressive environment, he glitters like gold, intensely compelling even when menacingly dramatic. The fact that he can sparkle on the fretboard is such a massive two-fer. Check out Keegan's pummeling polyrhythmic display here, a master craftsman indeed. Its companion is the eloquent "Summoned From Afar", a colossal second salvo that elects to veer into a highly cinematographic vein, where mandolin, mellotron and choir (always a winning combo) take hold of the senses and never let go, through all the dizzying ebb and flow of a poignant story about a war weary combatant who just wants to come home again, a reappearance of a unassuming life of happy comfort , as implied by a playful flute. The mandolin reappears to cavort with the mighty mellotron, waiting for another blistering axe solo to settle the score. These two tracks really impress even the most reticent animal. A swooning love song to finish off any album will never get a no from this romantic penman! "Love is Still the Night" has all the attributes of a classic tune, interpreted by a plethora of potential balladeers, both professionals and amateurs as it is armed with expressive lyrics, an over-the-top melody, and a pleading vocal for the ages.

4.5 Eerie secluded movements

Review by kev rowland
4 stars I am glad to see that Spock's Beard have various tours lined up as it would not take much for fans to assume that band no longer exists, given they have not released an album since 2018 (the return to form 'Noise Floor'), but the band formed out of it have now released their fourth since then. Both Ted Leonard (lead vocals, guitar) and Dave Meros (bass) are still in the line-up of Spock's Beard, drummer Jimmy Keegan was in the band for a large number of years, while keyboard player John Boegehold is a long-time collaborator (and nearly joined them prior to Ryo Okomuto). I have been a fan of Ted's since the debut Enchant album a million years ago, and he never disappoints (so pleased I managed to catch that band in concert), Jimmy Keegan has always been an exciting player who adds to every band or project he is involved with, Dave Meros is one of the most exciting and constructive bassists around (listen to any of his live work in particular to see just what he brings), while John Boegehold is an under-rated keyboard player and composer who has finally made it into the spotlight he so richly deserves.

P-SA have shown with their previous works that they are not an SB clone, and in fairness the current SB is very different indeed to the band which set the prog scene alight nearly 30 years ago. Here they continue that development, showing they have their own identity as they continue to follow a style of prog which is both commercial and mixed with American melodic rock and even some pop elements which make them truly crossover. In Keegan and Meros they have a superb rhythm section, and against this the keyboards and guitars work well to create the backdrop for Ted. Remember, he is a singer first and foremost and a guitarist second, with Alan Morse very much taking the lead role in Spock's Beard and Douglas Ott in Enchant, yet he combines well with John, showing he is more adept in that area than many would give him credit for. However, it is not his main area, which means the songs are very constructed and arranged so the feeling is that the music is always there to support the vocals and create the atmosphere and feeling.

The result is a wonderfully polished and enthralling album which can be enjoyed the first time it is played, and while there is not too much depth it is also a grower and one which can be played repeatedly. Given the success of P-SA it is going to be interesting to see if we do get another album from Spock's Beard, and if so, just what is it going to sound like? P-SA are very much creating their own path, moving far away from their roots, emotional and sitting happily in the prog mainstream.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Pattern-Seeking Animals (P-SA) is rather the prolific type. Born from the ashes of Spock's Beard, the group released their 4th album in 5 years: 'Spooky Action At A Distance'. Part of a Prog Rock that could be described as "classic", P- SA 's music is no less interesting and extremely refined. Ho ... (read more)

Report this review (#3056488) | Posted by David_ProgCritique | Thursday, May 30, 2024 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Yes they're back! P-SA has released their 4th album today! I've read several things about it over the last few weeks, some positive and negative things about this new album from the spin-off of Spock's Beard... they are different, and you can see it on this record. Stop thinking that haha In ... (read more)

Report this review (#2964745) | Posted by progrockeveryday | Friday, October 27, 2023 | Review Permanlink

Post a review of PATTERN-SEEKING ANIMALS "Spooky Action at a Distance"

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.