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Spock's Beard - Brief Nocturnes And Dreamless Sleep CD (album) cover


Spock's Beard


Symphonic Prog

4.01 | 683 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

kev rowland
Special Collaborator
Honorary Reviewer
5 stars Many years ago I was at a Marillion concert, and after the gig had finished the usual suspects had got together and there was only one subject that we all wanted to talk about ? had everyone heard 'The Light'? For me here was a band taking prog to a brand new level, and I then took every opportunity to see them in concert, rave about their latest releases and was lucky to meet the guys and interview them a few times. Then came the bombshell, Neal had left, even though the band had just recorded what was easily their finest ever album and an absolute prog classic, 'Snow'. But it was okay, they were going to do a Genesis and let the drummer have a go and NDV had a great voice didn't he? Well, 'Octane' wasn't too bad although I did think that they were trying too hard, and then they came to the UK again on tour. First up was CGT who were great, and then it was Enchant who I was really looking forward to as I had been a fan of their music right since the very beginning, and to top it all there was Spock's Beard. I left halfway through SB's set, totally demoralised and to be honest quite upset as well. I had witnessed what to me was a Spock's Beard cover band who just weren't as good as the original. I kept saying to myself that this must have been what it was like when Peter Gabriel left Genesis, but as I didn't start listening to them until 1978 or thereabouts I hadn't been through it myself. I kept trying to like the 'new' SB, but instead found myself much preferring Neal's solo material. Maybe they'll get back together one day I thought?

Then another shock, NDV was leaving SB so tour drummer Jimmy Keegan would get his shot, but what about the singer? Step forward Ted Leonard from Enchant, and I immediately started to take notice. Enchant were a very different band to both Neal-era SB and NDV-era, so what would the new album be like? I actually found myself excited to hear an SB release for the first time since I had played 'Octane'. Now, the album arrived at the same time as the new Neal Morse live album and I couldn't help myself and played that one first, which was a mistake as once it got on the player it was hard to get it off. Then came the time to put on 'Brief Nocturnes..' and I sat back and waited to be impressed.

And boy, was I?! Forget everything you have ever heard by Spock's Beard, here is a brand new band and while I understand why they kept the name after so much history I don't think that there would be much surprise if they had started afresh. This is simply stunning, it is as if bringing in Ted has given everyone a new lease of life and they have just relaxed and let the music flow. Ryo is playing with an incredible sense of freedom and I have never heard him link with Alan the way he does here. Jimmy and Dave just lock in and get down to business with far less in the way of frills than previously, with provides a far firmer foundation for everyone. There has never been any doubt that Ted is a great singer, but here he is also demonstrating more styles and passion than previously.

I never thought that I would be able to say this again, but Spock's Beard have released a five star album: just don't expect it to be the sequel to anything they have done before as they move into a more melodic rock/prog area, with "Submerged" surely destined to be an AOR radio classic! Ted gets a solo credit on one song, while Alan's brother also makes a return on "Waiting For Me". Welcome back guys.

kev rowland | 5/5 |


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