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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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Prog Reviewer
3 stars I tend to agree with most of the collaborators' reviews: The Light has a large number of tantalizing moments and we're all grateful that the Beard threw their hats into the prog ring, but there are serious flaws that just can't be ignored, such as irritating distorted vocals, silly (and pointless) parts, and a general lack of direction to the music. Because it's a debut, I think The Light warrants 3 stars: it takes guts to release music like this, especially without any kind of a fan base.

The Light. Let the inconsistency begin. We start with a nice rocking, building intro, giving the impression that these guys are serious about making good music. Then we get awful distorted shouts about the catfish man. The result is neither serious nor fun--it's just goofy. Too bad, because the chorus is decent, and things improve from there: parts that remind me of Yes on TOPO and then a bit of IQ later, but then we get Senor Velasco drinking his milk with Tabasco and more catfish man to bring down the quality once more.

Go the Way You Go. The most consistent tune, and fortunately they would later improve at making this kind of music. The intro is where I hear the Kansas influence most (though not really that strong for me overall, compared to others), and I like the fat bass. The rest is very enjoyable: a series of melodies and a nice refrain at the end to set up the excellent climax. This is the skeleton for my favorite work of theirs: The Great Nothing.

The Water. Sometimes you just have songs that don't agree with you. I come back to this once in a while, and every time it's a struggle to make it through. Just know that the truly cringe-worthy moments (FU, the initial verse and chorus) are frontloaded in the beginning ten minutes of the song, so if you can make it past that point, the rest provides a lot of what we enjoy about the Beard: keyboard/guitar call-and-response, good keyboard flourishes, and overal tasteful melodies.

On the Edge. It's easy to write this one off, but I think that's a mistake. This is evidence that the Beard could combine prog and rock in a consicse package, and as such it's my second favorite tune from the album.

When I think of Neal's other work, I am almost astounded that some of this material bears his name. It's not THAT bad, just different enough to surprise me. If a few bad spots don't ruin your enjoyment of extended pieces, you'll find plenty here. That's not the case with me, and this album is just a bit too much work to recommend.

Flucktrot | 3/5 |


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