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Specimen 37 - The Endless Looping Game CD (album) cover

THE ENDLESS LOOPING GAME

Specimen 37

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.91 | 12 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars A fine specimen

"The endless looping game" is SPECIMEN 37's second album, released some four years after "Adverse reaction".

In true prog concept album style, the tracks segue to form a whole. There is indeed a concept based on a man's (i.e. the specimen) attempts to put a meaning to his life, seen through the period of a week. A more cynical version of Mike Rutherford's "Smallcreep's day" perhaps? The lyrics can be difficult to decipher, but are helpfully repeated on the band's website.

It is hard to pigeon hole the band in terms of a sub-genre, such is the diversity of their music. They have described their music as "Psychetronic Rock" (psychedelic electronic rock), but even this seems inadequate.

At times this album could be a continuation of PORCUPINE TREE's "Voyage 34", yet there are also sections which are almost mainstream pop. The highly melodic male/female (guest singer Kookina ) vocal interchanges of "Monday" for example has echoes of THE BEAUTIFUL SOUTH, while also incorporating some retro sounds and fine guitar work by Empathy (yes that is his name! What's more he is an active participant in this website).

There are certainly (prog) metallic elements, such as the heavy riff of "Blow things up!" which becomes increasingly chaotic as it progresses, Early PINK FLOYD meets DREAM THEATER perhaps?

For me, the standout tracks are the longer, more intricate ones, although it is all relative, and there is nothing here which might be described as "simple". The nine minute "Logging on" starts with a repeating piano rhythm which is quickly overtaken by a superbly developed guitar section that gains volume and pace until it gives way to the vocals. The track ends with a softer, more ambient guitar. "Thursday morning jogger" also moves from a heavier start to an lengthy ambient guitar play-out. Here, the PORCUPINE TREE similarities, especially from their "Sky moved sideways" era, come to the fore once again. The striking title track burst forth with some highly melodic vocals, a bit like a laid back HAWKWIND, or something from TIMOTHY PURE's excellent "Island of Misfit toys". Once again, this time after about three minutes, the track changes course completely, with a distorted rap section(!) which sounds like a psychedelic version of AEROSMITH's "Walk this way".

Some of the tracks, or sections of the whole as they should more rightly be described, are less impressive. "Helix" pastes together some heavy vocals and sounds with some avant-garde effects, but for me the results are disappointing. The closing " Randy and the Gogzies" does for this album what "The hare who lost his spectacles" did for "A passion play". Actually, that's a bit unfair, as the instrumental melody is pleasant, it is just the spoken narrative which is superfluous.

In all, this is an impressive album by some highly competent musicians. While there are clearly many diverse influences, the music is original and creative. Highly recommended.

Easy Livin | 4/5 |

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