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Spock's Beard - Snow CD (album) cover

SNOW

Spock's Beard

 

Symphonic Prog

3.85 | 626 ratings

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Walkscore
2 stars Less musical, too preachy.

For the last of the Morse-era SB albums, Morse wrote a double-concept-album based around a character named Snow who, just like Morse, found himself facing a number of potential life directions and who was eventually led to find religion. The album is made up of a number of shorter tunes, with no epics or even extended songs. Kindof like how Floyd jettisoned longer tunes when it created The Wall. And like The Wall, the character here is full of angst, easily manipulated, and has to face his demons and make a decision about his life near the end, bringing the album to its climax. However, while Floyd's The Wall is rooted in an important political message and said something truly novel, profound and authentic about the human condition beyond/more than the narrow story of the main character Pink, Snow is basically only about the character's (and thus Morse's) personal quest and redemption, in the face of a unredeemable (except through religion) human world. In a way, the album Snow is anti-political, for it seems to assume the world is and will always be morally bankrupt, and that faith and scripture is the only way to truly understand both the world and ones-self, with the homeless person a key metaphor for someone who has not yet found god but who contains the potential. While the lyrics on certain selected tracks are such that one could enjoy them outside the context of the album, the general message of the album is essential one of a religious preacher. Saying this, I still have it in my collection, and there are a few musical songs on it. Of course the main instrumental theme ("Overture") is great, and it is very welcome when that gets repeated, bringing some nice relief from the heaviness of the lyrics (just as Ryo Okumoto's "Ladies and Gentlemen" solo near the end, nice relief). Even some of the otherwise preachy tracks are OK despite the lyrics. "Welcome to New York City" is this album's equivalent to The Wall's "Young Lust" and is very good musically. "Open the Gates, Part II" is great, as is "Freak Boy, Part I". "Devil's Got My Throat" is one of the strongest pieces, musically, making one wish perhaps that the devil still had Morse's throat, as the pieces that are supposed to make the listener identify with Morse's message here are mostly slow sappy ballads. At least one-half to two-thirds of this album leans far too heavily on the latter, making this one of Morse-era SB's most difficult to sit through musically (even apart from the preachiness). And at 114 minutes, that is a lot of slow sappy listening. Overall, I can't give this more than 5.4 out of 10, which translates to high 2 PA stars on my 10-point scale, even if I disregard the preachiness of the lyrics/concept. You have to wade through too much sappy music to get the good stuff. Saying this, if you like Morse and his religious message, you will obviously love this album.

Walkscore | 2/5 |

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