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Kaprekar's Constant - The Murder Wall CD (album) cover


Kaprekar's Constant


Crossover Prog

3.88 | 39 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

3 stars 1. "Prologue" (4:57) melodic and dramatic, but so simplistic. NeoProg-by-the-numbers. (8.5/10)

2. "Theme - Hall of Mirrors" (2:23) the music here opens with a processional that sounds like it comes from a children's television show--until the soprano saxophone enters. Embarrassingly simplistic. (4/5)

3. "Tall Tales by Firelight" (5:00) like a story recitation with a live soundtrack from a band of minstrels from a Renaissance faire. Turns into an AL STEWART song as piano and, later, sax and electric guitar soli are added. (8.25/10)

4. "Failure Takes Care of Its Own" (4:21) piano continuing its play and theme from the previous song over which the soothing voice of Dorie Jackson tells another story. As the rest of the band joins, they form a decent tapestry of sound. (8.25/10)

5. "Another Man's Smile" (6:02) a simplistic early-Genesis/Strawbs/Gentle Giant NeoProg soundscape supports a story about a man with a broken tooth in his smile. While I enjoy the mix of instruments used to create the musical weave, the songs is just so simple and dull. Nice background vocal work/arrangements. (8.5/10)

6. "Years to Perfect" (2:30) nice long intro slowly builds. This is gorgeous. Guest vocalist Judie Tzuke has a great, wispy-raspy voice. A top three song for me. (4.5/5)

7. "Hope in Hell" (3:00) more NeoProg pseudo folk, this is a lot like or Heather Findlay and Dave Kerzner's MANTRA VEGA project in 2016. (4.25/5)

8. "Victorious" (6:13) more simplistic soft pop rock to support another story. Bill Jefferson sounds exactly like Spirogyra's Martin Cockerham. The song is so straightforward three- and four-chord pop prog. Nice chorus and pipes. Earworm memorable. (8.5/10)

9. "The Rain Shadow" (2:07) another SPIROGYRA-like song that does nothing if you don't hear the lyrics. (4/5)

10. "Third Man Down" (7:20) long, dull intro turns to electric piano to lead into the Strawbs-like melody and story. Bill's voice here sounds like a cross between Roger Waters and Dave Cousins (or Guy Manning and Andy Tillison). The all-in following of the melody line wouldn't be so if it weren't being so insistently drummed into our heads. I do admit that I prefer this style of song construction and presentation with the smooth vocals, but at times this causes the effect of losing it's progginess. Wonderful final 90 seconds. A top three song for me. (13.25/15)

11. "A Silent Drum" (5:00) built on the melody of the previous song, anachronistic Prog Folk instrumentation establishes the structure and soundscape before rhythm section and singer Dorie Jackson join in. The chorus vocals switch over to Bill's Martin Cockerham styling. A slightly more interesting/complex song than what one might have heard trying to enter the Top of the Pops back in the late 1960s. (Think music from the Broadway musical Godspell.) (8.25/10)

12. "The Stormkeeper's Daughter" (3:28) over strummed 12-string and piano accompaniment, Dorie's multi-tracked voice establishes a pleasant melody that, unfortunately, sounds quite familiar (from one of this album's previous songs). Wind instruments, simple drums & bass, and, later, orchestra strings embellish and fill as does Dorie's melodic and harmonic journey. One of the better constructed songs here. (8.5/10)

13. "A World Beyond Man" (3:44) folk guitars woven together to set up another saccharine Prog Folk story presentations. As the soundscape fills and expands, a bombast is on display unlike any of the album's previous songs. But then it returns to the simple folk weave for Dorie and Bill's beautifully performed twin-voiced performance. I don't like the bombast, but I love the sensitive, well-synchronized vocal performance. A top three song for me. (8.5/10)

14. "The Stormkeeper's Reprise" (3:48) just as it says, but this version has a bit of a MOSTLY AUTUMN country twang to it. It does nothing to expand the story--but fulfills a predictable format if one were building a full musical for stage performance. Gives the musicians a chance to unwind before the dénouement and big finish. (8/10)

15. "Endeavour" (3:43) opens sounding like a 1980s Bruce Springsteen or Bruce Hornsby song. After a minute of waiting for development and further exposition, one begins to get the feeling that this is going to be an instrumental. Bruce Hornsby songs are far more interesting and developed than this. (7.75/10)

16. "Mountaineers" (4:58) so simple and straighforward! One would think that the storytellers/ composers would be much more enthusiastic and persuasive about their subject matter as we get to the end. The pipe play and background vocal arrangements and performances are great, but, overall, this feels so lackluster! (8/10)

17. "Hall of Mirrors" (6:15) Starts out with the same tired, lackluster performances and construction of the previous song before gradually (finally) building to a crescendo of enthusiasm--but then it all gets so muddled! (You'd think the world would have learned one thing from Big Big Train!) (8/10)

Total Time 74:49

The length and density of this album has kept me busy trying to get to know it so that I can write a proper review. Obviously inspired by the success of fellow Brits, Big Big Train, this collection of tribute songs about some of the undersung heroes of human history--people that might be in danger of being lost--begs the question: Do we really need a bunch of songs about the failed attempts to climb the north face of the Eiger? Melodic but so simplistic. Despite the thematic intent, at times I found such cheesie music/songs making me feel embarrassed for the musicians. (Don't worry: I've had the same sensation for songs by BBT, Mostly Autumn, Mantra Vega, and Magenta, as well.) Were I more attuned to lyrical content, perhaps I would like and appreciate this more. Also, I don't quite understand how the band allowed the final four to flatten out the mood and enthusiasm for their subject matter.

C+/3.5 stars; as an offering of pleasant Prog Folk music, this is nice. As a tribute to some forgotten or overlooked era or event in history, it can probably be ignored. As a demonstration of the potential and actualization of the artist expression of progressive rock music, I consider this is rather prosaic.

BrufordFreak | 3/5 |


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