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Galleon - From Land To Ocean CD (album) cover





3.68 | 119 ratings

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3 stars First, let me say that, if I didn't know better, I'd think James Lee somehow got into my mind and wrote my review (with minor differences). He expressed almost exactly what I had intended to say, and we agree almost perfectly, right down to his comment about Anglagard. Since we agree on so much, I highly recommend his review, to which I will add only personal notes.

Hibou and others have called "Three Colours" a "quintessential prog track." I'm not sure I completely agree, although there are definitely some great prog bits, and a clear approach to the writing. On the other hand, the piece seems to me like a number of interesting ideas not as well-realized as they might have been. It also seems a little short on thematic, and even musical, development. Indeed, some of the sections seem somewhat "ad hoc," and some of the segues mildly "forced." (This is my strongest overall criticism of the majority of the album.) Interestingly, there is a section at 7:51- 8:20 and 8:45-9:15 that sounds suspiciously like the verse section of "Slainte Mhath" by Marillion. Indeed, although Galleon does filter its influences comparatively well, I hear quite a bit of Marillion, some Genesis, and possibly a touch of Yes (among others).

"Fall of Fame" is probably more classifiable as "rock" than "prog. "The Porch" is a very well-constructed power ballad. The instrumental "Liopleurodon" is at best unimaginative, and at worst highly derivative, and is my least favorite track. "Land" has an interesting Irish flavor (from a Swedish band, no less!), with yet more musical references to "Slainte Mhath" (they must love that song). "Solitude" is, for my money, the better of the two ballads. "The Price" - a bizarre extended composition about human enslavement by aliens - is much better realized than "Three Colours," with a more cohesive thematic and musical approach. It opens with a piano highly reminiscent of Supertramp's "Crime of the Century" and includes quite a bit of Banks-style Mellotron and solo work.

"The Ocean" - a valiant, sometimes grandiose, but mostly successful attempt at a true "concept" album - is maddeningly inconsistent, but ultimately satisfying (though not to the degree it might have been). It takes on almost every issue that one associates with the ocean, both real and imagined: sea life, environmental issues, the Bermuda Triangle, Atlantis, melting ice caps, etc. As with "Three Colours," some sections sound strung together "because they could," rather than because they really fit. However, there is a really great jam at 9:00-11:45, some more Supertramp-style piano at 11:45, and some strong Genesis influence at 43:15-43:24 and 47:10-48:30. In addition, the "Blood Waters/Into the Deep" section sounds alot like ARK (whose album "Burn the Sun" I very highly recommend; among other things, they do the "environmental thing" even better than Galleon, though in the prog-metal genre).

As James Lee notes, this album is particularly maddening because it is obviously very good - with some excellent musicianship - but is ultimately uncompelling. The lyrics are direct and almost uncompromising in their power and sincerity - whether regarding politics, the environment, or fantasy - and yet they come across as simplistic and naive. Still, it is nice to know that someone is still writing stuff like this, and that they are doing a remarkably good job of it.

maani | 3/5 |


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