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Brainbox - Parts CD (album) cover





2.67 | 13 ratings

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3 stars This, their second and final album, is often marketed as "the progressive 2nd album" and that statement holds some thruth. The music on "Parts" is a big improvement, as far as the amount of real progressive rock is concerned, from their first album.

The opening track "A face" is a really nice number recalling early Yes with the singer adopting a somewhat Jon Anderson-like voice, while the instrumentation resembles the band with odd time signature and prominent bass guitar. It is the best track on the album. Focused, tight and with an obvious progressive direction. "You're used to be warmer" follows in the progressive direction but this time with a more jazzy approach. Really nice tune aswell.

After those two great openers follows a slightly less progressive quartet of songs. While they do have hints of progressive rock it does not reach the levels of the first two tracks. A bit more in a psychedelic pop-mode.

Then it goes piano-progressive with "Another part". That song could have been developed into a longer piece with the piano opening up the whole thing. Too bad it stops after Three minutes of playing the piano. On the other side they enter the realm of progressive stricken hard rock on "Dilemma", which is quite a nice tune but not much to write home about. The mouth harp ruins the progressive feel somewhat.

"Drum and thunder suite" is progressive enough in a jazz rock way. Heavy on the drums (as expected) with nice jazzy flashes of instrumentation it is quite interesting and shows some prominse Before the final song hits you. "When I was poor" opens with the sound of an audience cheering at the band. I doubt it is an authentic live recording but that doesn't matter much. The song itself is a ballad with a certain degree of energy to it. Call it rock feel. Not the best of tracks but not bad either.

Brainbox seems to have struggled with what approach or direction to take. Should they head on down the pop road or take to the skies in the spaceballoon of prog? Judging by the first track (though not entirely unique in any way) they had the means and capability to actually write seriously progressive rock as it sounded back in the early 1970's. But then it seems that they did not want to lose the pop audience or the opportunity to hit the charts, so they filled the album with almost equal amounts of pop songs and progressively constructed pieces. The result is an album that lands in no man's land. It is neither a prog album, nor a fully fledged pop record. Is that a bad thing? Well, yes and no. The balance is wrong. It's like having the dessert and the main meal served on the same plate at the same time. It's all good but not at the same time. The flow is disrupted.

If you're looking for serious progressive rock you need not go to any great lengths to acquire this album but if you (like me) enjoys early prog rock that is, so to speak, in the making you might enjoy pieces of the album. I really like the first two tracks. The remainder is really throwaways in the grand scheme of things. When I add things up the rating lands on 2,66 stars, so I'll round things up and reward it Three.

GruvanDahlman | 3/5 |


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