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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
4 stars Sorry, I've had to drop the star rating from 5 to 4. It's just not as good as I origninally thought.

The BEARD's debut album begins with the 15 minute title track, divided into movements. It is by far my favorite song on the album, with classic progressive shifting time signatures, changing themes, and, of course, the fact that it is divided into movements.The beginning movement is "The Dream", and it sounds sort of Disneyesque. It is a short piano piece, with fantasy-type vocals over it and an, of course, dreamy feel. A short sort of overture follows, simply amazing. Better than anything I could've hoped for, which leads into "One Man." The overture section is practically vaccuumed up into a thudding piano background. "One Man" is another excellent movement with "21st Century Schizoid Man" type vocals at first, giving way to the overlapping chorus. Then it "comes down" to "Garden People," a psychadelic interlude broken up by a gutar at intervals. Then it grows into "Looking Straight into the Light", a very nice section with what sounds like an electric violin or very distorted guitar. After this, "The Man in the Mountain" interrupts the loudness to bring us down to earth. It is very lonely, but soon leads into a sort of story ending with...a party!? Some decidedly out-of-place Mexican guitar strumming enters as does the refreshing "Senor Volasco..." movement. This soon gives way to the crunching "Return of the Catfishman" and its unpleasant (but by no means bad) vocals. This is followed by a reprise of the "One Man" chorus and finally a reprise of "The Dream."

Following this amazing song is "Go the Way You Go." It is a softer song at points, but then soaring and clashing. Although it is not divided into movements as the previous songs are, it shifts themes throughout its 12 minute running time just the same. I used to dismiss this song because of its incoherence and lyrical pointlessness, but now I realize it deserves just as much recognition as the other songs.

"The Water" is another good song, it has the most comprehensive lyrics of all the songs. The title movement reminds me of "The Thin Ice" on PINK FLOYD's "The Wall." Then it dips into "When it all Goes to Hell," an angry sort of bass theme, which goes even lower into the brooding bluesy/Floydian/gospel-backed "Thief in the Night." All of them very good. Then an angry sort of blaming threat, and some brewing reverse sounds, and we have reached "FU!!" This song doesn't offend me nearly as much as I thought it would. It is merely the song's protagonist's hateful rant, but at least it is a musically planned rant. Actually a good song which is not entirely out of place in a prog album. The "I'm Sorry" part completely reverses all that was said in the last part, and does so with a folksy guitar backing it. "Runnin' the Race" follows a quick reprise of the original theme, a fast-paced, brighter version of the "When it all Goes to Hell." Then it closes out with "Reach for the Sky," a nice ending for the 20 minute opus. I've noticed that this song and the following song have better lyrics than the first two, which seem to have lyrics there just for effect as they certainly have no point.

Then we have "On the Edge," a shorter, edgy, psychadelic piece. Very ambient, but again it pales in comparison to the longer tracks. Still worth many listens, however.

In conclusion, it's a good introduction to neo-prog/symphonic rock of the 90s. If all you've heard of prog is 70s material, get this. If you don't mind the explicit lyrics on track 3, of course. But it pales in comparison to other new prog I've heard recently, and that's why it's only 4 stars.

penguindf12 | 4/5 |


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