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Spock's Beard - Day for Night CD (album) cover


Spock's Beard


Symphonic Prog

3.26 | 442 ratings

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Queen By-Tor
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Just before the big one.

Yes, the Beard's precursor to their wonderful work ''V'' is not quite as good as it's successor would turn out, but it still has it's great moments none the less. Certainly a different feel in this album than in previous and later albums, but this one has all the ingredients of a great Spock's Beard [SB] album. Certainly an uplifting album in terms of music (if not always in lyrics), this album certainly has a more pop influence to it than it's brother and sister albums. Though it does have a couple longer and more typical symph-prog moments this one tends to stick more to the short song format. Only three songs (and one suite) reach over the length of 5 and a half minutes and when they do they often do so in a fairly catchy manner. However, while one can complain about poppyness there's no doubt that this is still a very good album that SB fans will still very much enjoy.

The album hosts a multitude of different sounding songs, ranging from full out prog right down to simple pop-rock songs. While there are some weaker tracks on the album they're easily forgiven because of the excellent stand out tracks. The excellent, high-tempo title track (DAY FOR NIGHT) opens the album with a blast of the keyboards, courtesy of one Mr. Morse, and utilizes a fairly catchy chorus to make all of it's speed changes and instrumental bits accessible to all. GIBBERISH continues SB's constant tributes to Gentle Giant and uses a well done harmony of voices to deliver some a-cappella vocals between the chorus and some excellent riffs and instrumentation from each member of the band. CRACK THE BIG SKY, the longest (single) song on the album, manages to again make use of a catchy chorus without abusing it to speed it's complexities along. Same goes for THE GYPSY. While many of these songs may seems to be heading down the more simple road it's easy to see the SB still knows what they're doing.

The shorter and more strait forward songs are more of a mixed bag from here on in. SKIN, the album's single, is a great rock song that has a great riff and chorus. Maybe not as accessible to people who prefer their prog to be as pure as black coffee, but a great song for those of us who still have a bit of headbanger in them. Unfortunately the other shorter songs don't pack as much of a punch. The slower songs, starting with THE DISTANCE TO THE SUN, come off as a bit weak. While the other poppy songs were album to make use of their speed to pull them through these songs don't have much going for them. CAN'T GET IT WRONG is another example of this, often bringing up memories of listening to Genesis's Abacab for the first time (shudder...).

Looking at this review so far, then the track listing on the album one may think, ''Oh no, this must mean that the whole second half of the album is not good!''. Not true, fortunately. One area of the album I've neglected to address thus far has ben the suite that occupies the better of the second half of the album. While not named in total and not really adressed as one big song it's easy to see from the ''parts'' and ''[reprise]s'' of the songs that there's something going on there. Indeed, the music is very closely linked and plays strait through as one song. Starting with the instrumental THE HEALING COLORS OF SOUND PT 1 (which opens with some interesting feedback) SB proves that they're still masters off the long song. Totaling somewhere in the area of 22 minutes, this suite is easily the standout of the album, and not just because of it's length. This suite truly captures everything the album has put forward so far, even the slow part (LAY IT DOWN) comes across as very good. Ending the same way it started (with that crazy feedback), the suite seems a lot shorter than it actually is -- the mark of any good, long song.

In the end this album gets a solid three stars. Hmm... tack another half star on their as well. The reason for this marking is as follows: While an excellent album, and very enjoyable, it's audience is rather small in the prog community. This album will appeal to any SB fan, as well as anyone who likes a little pop in their prog. However, anyone who cringes at the simple mention of the word ''pop'' should steer very clear of this album and move strait on to the next two albums by the band.

Queen By-Tor | 3/5 |


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