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Moth Vellum - Moth Vellum CD (album) cover


Moth Vellum


Symphonic Prog

3.80 | 70 ratings

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4 stars Moth Vellum Moth Vellum is only my second exposure to a group whose sound is mostly neo-Yes group (Glass Hammer being the other). While I agree that "Whalehead" and "Salvo" sound very much like out of some outtakes from the The Yes Album to Going for the One era of Yes, it is a very much mellower Yes, and the remainder of the album presents Moth Vellum with its very own identity. Sure there are guitar sounds similar to Steve Howe, and a vocalist similar to Jon Anderson (though with far simpler and more accessible lyrics), but the keyboards and song structures are, IMO, much more akin to those of Tony Banks, and the vocalist sounds much more, to me, like Buggles'/Drama-era's Geoff Downes or Rush's Geddy Lee. Still, a very nice collection of songs very high standards. The drums and bass playing are rock solid if unspectacular throughout, the melodies and chord progressions are almost always very catchy and ear-pleasing. The soli are very rarely deserving of Yes-like superlatives yet do a fine job of entertaining and engaging.

1. "Let the Race Begin" has a nice neo-symphonic prog feel to it, some Yes feel to it, but, largely establishing Moth Vellum as their own entity. Something about the lyric and vocal melody I don't like. Perhaps a bit too simple. 8/10

2. "Whalehead" has a 'mellow Yes' feel with a Rush-like vocal chorus. Howe-like guitar playing must surely be the aim for the familiarity is unquestionable. Here, as with "Salvo" the vocal harmonies are most imitative of the above-mentioned 1972-76 period of Yes. Nice song. 6/10

3. "Salvo" begins a bit like a Genesis Nursery Crymes, or Selling England by the Pound song (and ends like "The Knife" or "Giant Hogweed"), though the first solo, given to the keys, is taking full advantage of all of the technological advances made in the 80s and 90s. The 3:15 mark marks the first time of many on this album in which I thought I was hearing a female lead vocalist. (Nice voice, Ryan!) Really a beautiful voice. (Same effect whenever Ryan sings slowly, as on "Against the Suns" and "Against the Suns (Reprise)"). The 'Yes Effect' really makes its presence known at about the 6:30 mark. From there one feels as if you're floating between grooves of The Yes Album and those of Close to the Edge. Really quite a pretty song?very engaging in a way that Yes sometimes . . . wasn't. 8/10

4. "Against the Suns" slows it down quite a bit. Melodies and chord progressions are quite simple?kind of a Wind and Wuthering feel to it. I like the vocals of this song quite a lot?as cheesie as they kind of are. The slow pace also allows for enough space in which to hear many of the subtleties that are often lost among fuller, more dynamic, power-chord crunching songs or song parts. A nice "Close to the Edge"-like quiet period beginning at the 4:00 minute mark preceeds a Rush/Marillion vocal, Howe guitar bridge to a beautifully melodic love-groove section right out of a great Gino Vanelli song. Enter a very cool and unexpected Wes Montgomery-Chris Squire conversation and then lead to fade with a Hackett-Rutherford-Banks foray. Great song. Very fresh even after 50 listens. 9/10

5. My favorite song on the album, "Walk it Off," I had trouble liking until I finally got the lyrics. Now I can get passed the songs ONLY flaw: the chorus. Sounding somewhat like our friends from Down Under, Unitopia, this song is very exciting with several melodic 'hooks' which get introduced separately, repeatedly, and even get layered harmonically at times. Very reminiscent of the winning tricks of Big Big Train, especially as used on their masterpiece, The Difference Machine. I also love the moments of almost campy Broadway musical theatrics (e.g. 7:45). But then we return to one of the great instrumental riffs?this time taken over from the keys by a very un-Howe-like fuzz/distorted guitar before fading out with the intro's guitar's harmonic arpeggios. 9/10

6. "Against the Suns (Reprise)" is a mellow "Afterglow" type of piece in which everybody seems to get to loosen up and let the last bits of expression fly from their fingertips in a kind of "late-night, it's time for bed" loosely structured jazz format. A great wind-down song. 9/10

A VERY pleasurable and OFT-repeated listen. I think it will stand up well over time?perhaps even better than a lot of Yes because of its simpler, more melodic sounds. Can't quite give it a five, but I sure want to!

BrufordFreak | 4/5 |


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