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Spock's Beard - The Light CD (album) cover


Spock's Beard


Symphonic Prog

3.86 | 666 ratings

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3 stars A good and logical place to start with Neal Morse.

When I tried out this album years ago, my ears that were finely tuned to only explorative works that were entirely "against the norm" (I was 16) wouldn't allow me to appreciate the poppy- feeling "One Man" section of the title track, so I stopped the album right there. And boy, was I na´ve! Lemme get into my breakdown of the tracks.

"The Light" (8.5-9.0 / 10) - I'm hooked just from the tonic and dominant chords sounding simultaneously at the beginning. The "Dream" section is beautiful and moving, then more of the madness begins. Spock's Beard had a great sense of noise. Alan Morse on this track is wonderful at enforcing the grit and helping move the song through all the chaos that ensues. There are many contrasting moods and styles covered, many utterances of the lyric "I am" this, "I am" that. I do believe this song is about a man (or people) finding their identity in the Light, whatever that may be to certain people. Morse had his cool guy rocker sound back in the day to combat with the classical, hard rock, and Spanish (?good lord, I need a word for whatever I'm thinking), and sort of heavy metal sounds and moods covered. The song has beautiful sections, no doubt, but it is chaotic and jumps all over the place, reflecting the lyrics well. Now many of us won't be impressed by all of the lyrical content by and means ("I am Senior Velasco; I drink my milk with tobasco!" "I am the Catfish Man! I can't hear you!"), but the sounds of this track and early period for the band is what's truly captivating. This is a fantastic track. Great musicianship.

"Go the Way You Go" (7.0-7.5 / 10) - This song is about path, purpose, and taking chances. The song is largely laid back with some pleasant melodies. With some interesting chord movements, I'd say this band does experiment well harmonically. The song has awkward transitions, with the song suddenly picking up pace for a more driving instrumental. It's a sort of moving song, but the highlights will be some of the melodies. It's a decent Prog tune. Not all the strength and flare that could've been demanded, but it's a decent listen.

"The Water" (6.5-7.0 / 10) - Still many utterances of "I am". A song about identity, one may jump to such an assumption. Lyrics are rather weak at times, especially the FU section. I usually don't mind transitions for the sake of making a tune a little longer as long as they're not too awkward of transitions or all ideas in the song are fairly strong. "The Water" is a little weak in transitions. The content, lyrically and musically, just isn't very strong either. Some of the musical moments are exciting. The band does sound great at moments, particularly in the first minute or two and reoccurrences of the "When It All Goes to Hell" segments.

"On the Edge" (7.0-7.5 / 10) - In this relatively short (to the rest of the album) jam, Spock's Beard showcases their talent and virtuosity. It's a good reinforcement of the talent this group has. The bass has a standout role early on. Most instruments play 16th patterns at some point. It's a more exciting tune than the previous two songs if you ask me. It's this Spock's Beard sound which reminds me of "All of the Above". I'd almost describe it as a premature version of the song, but it stands alone well, being distinguished as a Spock's Beard tune and not Transatlantic. Again, it's a pretty good, reinforcing jam to finish out the album.

I feel this album is around a 3.5/5 stars, but I must round down. I feel the only truly strong track is "The Light", but it's strength is not enough to pull my rating up.

JCDenton | 3/5 |


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