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Spock's Beard - Feel Euphoria CD (album) cover


Spock's Beard


Symphonic Prog

3.25 | 422 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

2 stars Their Weakest Album.

Ostensibly an odd name for an album made at the lowest point in their career (picking up the pieces after their leader, primary singer and composer, Neil Morse, left the band), there is in fact much precedent of using album titles to try to convince the audience that the obvious is somehow its opposite (the music-industry version of 'fake news?'). Sly Stone released 'Back on the Right Track' exactly when everyone knew he was anything but. Van der Graff Generator released 'Vital' right before they broke up. Well, I would think SB were not feeling too Euphoric when they made this album. Nick D'Virgilio, SB's amazing (then) drummer, took over on vocals (as many have noted, kindof like Phil Collins after Gabriel left Genesis), and became their front man, while compositional duties would now be shared. But they also (wisely) increasingly brought in their friend John Boegehold to help them write the songs. Boegehold would eventually become, in the Ted Leonard era, their best song-writer, but his positive presence only touches a couple of tunes on this album, and it is not enough. Indeed, on this album, song-writing is definitely a work in progress. I actually think that Nick D'Virgilio is/was the best lead singer that SB ever had. He has the best voice of the three front-men, neither whiny like Morse, nor shrill like Leonard, but instead warm and musical (yes, I like his voice even better than Morse). However, among all his talents (an amazing drummer AND singer!), lyric-writing is not one of them, and the rest of the band were not great at this either. Despite his preachiness, Morse at least had a way with words. I would have thought with such musical talent, and with their main lyricist gone, they might focus on instrumentals more, but they seem to want to infuse as much of this music with vocals as they can. If ever there was a need for a Ryo Okumoto instrumental, it is on this album! But alas, there is not. The result is an album with great playing and good singing, but which is laden with too much poor-quality song-writing and trite lyrics. Indeed, this is the least musical SB album, from my perspective, even less musical than 'Snow'. After listening to it for many years, there is only one song that stands the test of time, and that I can still listen to, the wonderful "The Bottom Line". The rest of the other tunes before the epic are definitely weak, not so bad that you have to turn them off, but after putting in my effort to listen to them a number of times now (>6 times), I feel no burning desire to hear them again. Even worse, the 'epic' ("A Guy Named Syd") is very cliché and trite. It is their worst epic, and among their worst-ever songs. I think they learned from making this album, and that learning led to better albums later on. But given there is only one truly good song on this album, I can only recommend this one to established fans and completionists. I give this album 4.2 out of 10, which translates to 2 PA stars.

Walkscore | 2/5 |


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