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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 Boy, how I wish I'd known about this album when it came out! In 1995, when it appeared, I'd been enjoying progressive rock for twenty years (I particularly liked symphonic prog, Canterbury Scene and jazz-rock), so I spent most of the 1980s/1990s throwing up my hands in despair at the sorry state of the genre. I found myself clutching at straws: CREST OF A KNAVE was one of them (the only noteworthy Jethro Tull album to emerge in the period I'm referring to) but why, oh why weren't there any younger bands which tried to emulate the ambition, the energy, the colourful variety of classic prog?

If I'd discovered THE LIGHT when it was released, I'm sure I would have been delighted, since Spock's Beard were doing something revolutionary, which myriads of bands have tried to repeat in the years since (The Tangent, Beardfish and Karmakanic are just a few that spring to mind): create lively and varied 15+ minute "epics" in the styles of Yes and Genesis, full of sudden tempo changes, rumbustious guitar solos and pseudo-orchestral climaxes. (At least that was the ideal.) Why, Dave Meros's Squire-inspired bass playing alone would have had me in ecstasy.

As it turned out, I actually bought my first Spock's Beard album early in the new millennium, and its name was "V". I was well pleased with it, but meanwhile I just can't call THE LIGHT a genuine masterpiece. The title track is a revelation, it's true, but after that, whenever I play this album, I soon get fed up with Neal Morse's hectoring moods, whether he's dishing up existential doubt or cursing the universe in his best Lennonesque voice, his Springsteenian voice or whatever... To make things worse, the inner sleeve picture of him lying naked in his bathtub totally grosses me out. One of the main problems with the early Beard was that Morse never had anything remarkable to say. Nor did he devise interesting ways of saying it.

But as a historical document, a token of symphonic prog's rebirth, THE LIGHT has its importance.

fuxi | 3/5 |


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