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Pattern-Seeking Animals biography
A Los Angeles-based rock project PATTERN-SEEKING ANIMALS were founded as another brainchild by current & former Spock's Beard members Ted LEONARD (guitars, voices), Jimmy KEEGAN (drums, voices), and Dave MEROS (bass) as well as a long-time contributing songwriter / producer / keyboardist John BOEGEHOLD for "producing music that's progressive and intricate while keeping things immediate and melodic" according to John's words. In early 2018 he's been working for some material, that could see the light in collaboration with three Spockers, apparently drawing on a few different musical influences and using some contemporary production ideas and sounds that he probably wouldn't use with Spock's Beard for various reasons. Their debut album crystallized with the "ideas and sounds" was released in July 2019 under the eponymous title.

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3.75 | 67 ratings
Pattern-Seeking Animals
3.68 | 79 ratings
Prehensile Tales

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 Prehensile Tales by PATTERN-SEEKING ANIMALS album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.68 | 79 ratings

Prehensile Tales
Pattern-Seeking Animals Crossover Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars This relatively recently-formed band's second album in two years. It's very well produced music from prog veterans who mostly hail from older versions of SPOCK'S BEARD.

1. "Raining Hard in Heaven" (8:31) a rough start with some very "mainstream" poppy musical themes used to try to hook us into an upbeat feel. There are, however, some nice ideas developed in the second half. (17.5/20)

2. "Here in My Autumn" (7:57) I'm already tired of the "repeat three times" approach to hook lines and choruses used by these guys. Again, the sounds and styles here are all slight variations on that which is already familiar. Nice sound and instrumental performances of a mature composition. (13/15)

3. "Elegant Vampires" (4:30) nice Mediterranean and Celtic flavor to the opening and secondary motifs to this song. I like that they are continued into the singing part. Ted Leonard has a very pleasant voice that I'm getting used to. A pleasant, nonoffensive song. (8.75/10)

4. "Why Don't We Run?" (5:09) even more southern Mediterranean sounds/flavors to this one--until the chorus comes, it sounds like it could come straight off of a MYRATH album! Not very interesting or likable chorus (unless you're still stuck in a Trevor Horn/Frankie Goes to Hollywood 1980s). I especially don't like the near-disco beat that follows and plays out over the rest of the song. (8.25/10)

5. "Lifeboat" (17:20) after a two minute introduction of bombast, the story begins to be told over a sparsely landscaped foundation. Moving into the "everybody into the lifeboats" chorus the band kicks back in with the aplomb of ASIA or PHIL COLLINS. A switch near the five-minute mark comes with a change in perspective from the story teller/singer--complete with its own very Tony BANKSian musical motifs and chorus. (I think he's the stowaway.) At 8:40 we again shift into a new section--this time with a very real "Relax" bass and drum line and rolling piano arpeggio. I'm beginning to discover a weakness in Ted's voice in that he's not quite chameleonic enough to pull off the many personality perspectives he's trying to use. Had I not heard so much prog in my life--had I not heard thousands of prog epics over the course of my 50 years as a prog lover--this might come off as a pretty cool, exciting song. Maybe that's the problem with today's prog artists: They have to please us old-timers. Perhaps it'd be better if we either just died off or moved on to derive our pleasure through some other musical form. (30.25/35)

6. "Soon But Not Today" (12:03) an interesting if sedate intro breaks into a DANNY ELFMAN song with the caveat of having the balls to use a near-reggae motif to support it through the second section. Nice instrumental performances through the first instrumental section. At the six-minute mark we slow down and enter BIG BIG TRAIN territory with a spacious folk pastoral soundscape. A minute later we're moving into a more layered, BEATLES-esque theatricity with horns and long, pretty vocal notes and background vocals and GEORGE HARRISON- like lead guitar soli. The BEATLESness seems only amplified by the use of the Greek chorus and celebratory background shouts and screams of the next part of this section (as well as the continued Sgt. Pepper's-like use of horns). As an homage, pretty cool. As an original piece of music, a bit cloying. (21.75/25)

Total Time 55:30

Like the band from which three of these musicians came, I find the music here a "lite" version of prog--one in which most of the sounds, ideas, themes, styles, and even riffs have been iterated and reiterated to death (in the Neo Prog world) so that they now feel old even when you hear them for the first time. Like the Beard, even the lyrics and their subject matter seem hokey or as if they've been created to fit a list of topics that are popular with the masses.

B/four stars; a very pleasant collection of eminently listenable and professionally composed and performed melody-based progressive rock songs.

 Prehensile Tales by PATTERN-SEEKING ANIMALS album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.68 | 79 ratings

Prehensile Tales
Pattern-Seeking Animals Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars Given that Ted Leonard (lead vocals, guitar) and Dave Meros (bass) are both members of Spock's Beard, drummer Jimmy Keegan was in the band for a large number of years, keyboard player John Boegehold is a long-time collaborator of that band plus it was recorded by Rich Mouser at The Mouse House then we all know what this sounds like, right? Well, yes, and no. If you thought this was a new Spock's Beard album in all but name then you're wrong, but if you felt it was likely this was going to be a top notch progressive rock album from musicians who have long been at the top of their game, then you are right. When I saw Enchant support Spock's Beard in London back in 2003, there was no doubt in my mind who was the top band of the night, and it wasn't the Beard.: this from someone who in previous years had been telling anyone who would listen that Spock's Beard were amazing, incredible, wonderful etc. etc. To me they lost their way after the departure of Neal, and it was when Ted joined the band that they regained their mojo. He has always been a great singer, and I clearly remember the impact 'A Blueprint Of The World' had on me more than 25 years ago. Keegan has always been a great drummer in whatever band he is playing with, it is no mean feat to take over from someone like D'Virgilio, especially when he was still in the band while Meros has always been a great bassist who seems to be able to turn his hand to anything. Then you have Boegehold, who may not be as well known as the others, but there was serious discussion about him joining Spock's Beard before they found Ryo Okumoto.

With all these guys involved, plus of course the work by Mouser, there was never any doubt that this was going to be a very melodic progressive rock album with great songs and performances. Interestingly, it is probably the rhythm section which has the most out and out musicianship, with keyboards and guitar more for emphasis and allowing the vocals to have something to be pitched against. They have also added some additional instrumentation in violin, flute, trumpet, cello, sax and pedal steel, all of which add additional nuances and styles to the band. For playing gigs they are adding two multi-instrumentalists to the band to be able to do the music justice. This is their second album, and the second they have released since the Beard's last release 'Noise Floor', so it will be interesting to see what the next Spock's Beard album is like, as with this one they have been raising the bar. There may be only six songs, but it is still 55 minutes long, and anyone who is pining for Enchant and Spock's Beard will find in this a great coming together of the bands and minds with music which I have even found myself whistling along to. I mean, what is that all about? This is prog isn't it?

 Prehensile Tales by PATTERN-SEEKING ANIMALS album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.68 | 79 ratings

Prehensile Tales
Pattern-Seeking Animals Crossover Prog

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

4 stars Pattern-Seeking Animals is an impressive new band, that technically isn't "new" in the sense of how you would typically think of it, even though they were initiated in 2018. Three of the members of the band were members of "Spock's Beard"; Ted Leonard, (guitar, vocals), Jimmy Keegan (drums, voices), and Dave Meros (bass) who were joined by contributing songwriter John Boegehold (keyboards), who also brings in his own influences to the musical stew. They released their acclaimed, self-titled, debut album in 2019 and quickly followed this up with the excellent "Prehensile Tales" in May of 2020.

Once again, the band hits the ground running with this album, beginning with the perfect opening "Raining Hard in Heaven", a progressive and powerful 8+ minute track that will grab your attention right away. All of the musicians shine while none take the "limelight", but instead provide equal opportunity for each one of them to prove their strength as an entire group. This track is one of the highlights for the album. At this point, the band moves into a more accessible style with three less progressive (yet equally satisfying, nonetheless) tracks that keep your interest as the album continues. This includes the considerably catchy "Elegant Vampires" which leaves you with a memorable groove and engaging vocals and melody.

At this point, the album returns to a more progressive stance as two more highlights close off the album. These are the exceptional "Lifeboat" at over 17 minutes, and the excellent and emotional 12 minute closer "Soon But Not Today". Both of these tracks would definitely fit comfortably on a 5 star album as both of them are amazing kaleidoscopes of dynamics, tempo and meter shifts and well-constructed tracks. This is a perfect way to end this album.

So, as it would seem, the longer tracks are the better ones and these all open and close the album, and on their own would merit 5-star compositions. It's the middle three tracks that tend to make the album lose a bit of progressive steam, even though as just regular tracks, are still pretty great. But sadly, they bring down the overall score of the album in a progressive sense. Because of the best tracks, which easily take up 's of the album, this is definitely an album that should not be ignored, and that is from a person that is not a big fan of Spock's Beard (mostly because I don't care for Neal Morse's vocals that much). Overall, I consider this a 4 star album, but have to round it down to 4 in the end. However, I still would encourage everyone to listen because the high points do make up most of the album and they are excellent "highs".

Thanks to dAmOxT7942 for the artist addition.

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