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Galleon - From Land To Ocean CD (album) cover

FROM LAND TO OCEAN

Galleon

 

Neo-Prog

3.68 | 119 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars All the elements of neo-prog

"From land to ocean", Swedish band Galleon's seventh studio album, is a sprawling double CD collection of fine neo-prog. The signature track is the 52 minute long "The ocean", which occupies all of the second CD. Nominally in 19 sections, it is very much a single piece, which flows well from beginning to end. The suite took the best part of two years to write and record, with a further year being spent on the "Land" tracks which appear on the first CD.

"The ocean" works its way through just about every trick in the book in prog terms, drawing in a host of influences including the classic bands (Genesis, Yes, Marillion) and more recent outfits such as Arena, Pendragon, IQ and The Flower Kings. That is not to say the music is overly derivative, but it is primarily the accented vocals which distinguish what we hear from anything by the band's peers. The English language vocals tell a doomy tale warning of the dangers of global warming, greed and pollution, interspersed with guitar and keyboard sections typical of the neo-prog genre.

The occasional breaks between sections betray the fact that the suite is constructed more in the way of "Supper's ready" than "Thick as a brick", with distinct tracks being pieced together to form the whole.

The problem I have with such an enormous piece is that it is very difficult to get into as a complete work. There are sections which are instantly enjoyable, others which grow on you, and others (such as "Blue richness") which seem bland and superfluous. It does not though seem to me that there is much, if anything, in the way of filler as such. A band does not spend two years working on a major project such as this just to pad it out unnecessarily. There is always something happening throughout the 52 minutes, but that does not necessarily mean that the listener's attention is held for that long. In the end, I find myself torn between the obvious delights in prog terms of a band having the courage to make a 52 minute track, together with the undeniable quality of many of the sections which make it up, versus the fact that the track as a whole simply fails to retain my attention throughout. Making such a long piece is inevitably something of a gamble. People will tend to remember some songs from an album better than others, and gravitate towards their favourites. By removing that option, you take the risk that people will either feel the suite as a whole is wonderful, or lose interest due to being unable to isolate their preferred sections.

The other disc, which is actually disc one, is more orthodox in that it is made up of seven distinct tracks ranging from 5 to 14 minutes. Without exception, these songs faithfully follow the neo-prog model with plenty of time changes, synth bursts, lush swathes of sound and melodic lead guitar. The lyrics continue the ecological theme but the lack of apparent passion in their delivery seems at odds with the intention.

The best of the bunch on the "Land" disc is probably "Three colours" which blends the sounds of Pendragon and ("We can't dance") Genesis. The song reminded me in particular of "Driving the last spike" from that album.

This what might be described as a "specialist" album, in exactly the same way as much of the avant-garde and Krautrock (for example) genres could be described. Those whose chosen sub-genre is neo-prog, and who enjoy the music of bands such as IQ, Pendragon, etc., should find this to be a very worthwhile acquisition. Thos however, who are less enthusiastic about the genre will probably feel that this album offers little if anything to attract them. Personally, I enjoyed the album a lot, although I have to admit to being left a little cold by it.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |

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