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Nice Beaver - The Time It Takes CD (album) cover


Nice Beaver


Eclectic Prog

3.88 | 165 ratings

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5 stars Nice Beaver's latest album 'The Time It Takes' wound up rapidly arriving into my collection upon its release, due to the fact that I really enjoyed their 2 previous albums and that this long awaited opus had a superbly lush cover photo that immediately placed itself visibly on my CD bookcases. So when my new girlfriend visited my room, she glanced up at the CD and said 'What the hell is Nice Beaver? A porn video?', Well, they are from Holland , I answered trying to explain myself out of this uneasy situation. When I played the CD for her, she relaxed enough to seduce me with her amazing smile and, well you can guess the rest! This tight band from the Netherlands has a certain style that is rather unique, a harder, upfront edge on the bass, a steely guitar disposition that skirts the sublime, a lead vocalist that prefers a huskier voice that fits the music so well, as well as a new drummer who thumps like a strongman. Keyboardist Erik Groeneweg sings in that manly manner while coloring the arrangements with slick organ, piano and synths. The music reflects the current fad in modern society that could very well augur the doomsday scenario Adam and Eve talked about in the garden, a collective and individual sense of apathy and frivolity that bodes poorly for our future. Great subject material, in my opinion.

On raucous , melody drenched 6 minute tunes like 'River so Wide' and the next one, 'In Close Proximity' the crew really bang out thrilling nuggets that have fire, passion and style. Quirky, yet propelled by a monster Peter Stel bass guitar motif, giving axe man Hans Gerritse that solid support to ramble, raunch and raze with justified zeal and tons of emotion. Drummer Corne van Disseldorp beefs it up big time with wide percussive thunder. The melodies are immediately agreeable to the ear and will appeal to a vast troop of prog aficionados. On the second piece, the mighty choir mellotron makes a powerful intro, masking a cool jazzy section that could have been George Benson turning into Jimmy Page, all rocked up by Corne's stunning wallop.

Though expert thunderbirds, their sweeter ballads are equally devastating, such as the delightful 'The Path to My House' fueled by a sensational bass furrow and a smokey vocal that almost hints at David Sylvian, a stunning little ditty that will shock and disturb in a very good way. Needless to repeat, the slick guitar work is exemplary and satisfying, a groaning solo that really hits the spot.

'Timeline' is back to hurricane deliveries, Blackmorian guitar riffs and shrieking licks, the bass guitar pulsing like crazy, while the relentless beat goes on. A slew of famous news samples crowd the arrangement, giving historic perspective as the wah-wah guitar washes the palette, a bouncy chorus that chooses effortless honesty, the blooming fret board solo seeks and destroys like some missile battery. Fast and furious.

The stellar 'Rainbow's End' is the jewel ballad here, perhaps the finest tune penned by the band, crowned as it is by a drop-dead melody and Peter Stel really giving listeners a lesson in slick bass playing. Erik's vocal is ardent and stirring, with unabashed rage and urgency at the forefront, allied to another guitar blow out. Another 6 minutes of absolute bliss, Dutch style. Girlfriend really liked this one a lot! The chorus 'look around' repeated ad infinitum shows both smarts and class. Wow!

The title track aims to highlight the band's current preoccupation with human rot and disconnectivity from reality. The piece is way more moody and brooding, less immediate but still explosive with a shrill synth solo that would make Manfred Mann drool with envy.

'Sound Behind Sound' develops slowly but assuredly, weaving invisible strings of support, injecting some eerie moods into the mix, a mature methodology that works just fine. There is a lot going on here, groovy bass amid the organ swirls allied to a wicked guitar solo once again, it all just fits nicely and explains the rave reviews by some of us writer/reviewers.

Things get very epic and progressive on the final track, the gleaming 'Waiting for the Bell to Toll', a monumental parade of sound and expression, rollicking tempo and organ swells, scattering guitar licks and pummelling beats. Here the quartet really get to unleash their brand of hard prog that has no exact clone anywhere. A serene mid-section with phased guitars introduces the menacing bass once again, as Peter Stel puts down a nasty roll, on which Hans Gerritse uses his wah-wah pedal (underused in prog , sadly) with deft skill, the sun shining through the cluttering clouds. Groeneweg does a neat slippery synth job and the mood really gets molten lava intense.

This is eclectic prog for sure, a Nice Beaver that has balls (actually that sounds pretty perverted but they are Dutch after all!), a ton of sweat and muscle as well as an overall appeal that is totally endearing. The artwork, packaging, pics and production are primo top notch. Find yourself a Nice Beaver and sink your teeth into their delicious pungency, there will be no regrets.

5 Epitaphs

tszirmay | 5/5 |


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