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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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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Spock's Beard's debut album took the worldwide prog fan community by surprise, catching everybody's attention and gaining a good reputation almost instantly. Now, 10 years later, it has obviously passed the test of time and remains one of the best appraised prog albums from the 90s, as well as an absolute SB classic. Basically, SB's prog style is pretty much inspired in 70s Kansas, Wakeman-era Yes, classic Genesis, and some of the acoustic sensibility of CSN&Y. Recorded and released while they were still a quartet (Neal Morse took care of all keyboards, except for some mellotron portions played by brother Alan), the album was a catalogue of exciting musical ideas, skillfully performed, and collectively ordained and distributed into four tracks. 'The Light' and 'The Water' are two multi-part suites, full of varied motifs and effective contrasts between the rockier and the calmer moments, containing some occasional reprises in order to keep the sense of integral unity. Both suites are great, but I particularly prefer the former, since I find that the inner articulation among all sections is more fluid; besides, some motifs contained in 'The Water' tend to meander a little, somehow affecting the whole unit - but generally speaking, let me reiterate that both pieces are great. The third long track 'Go the Way You Go' is not exactly a suite, since it is not divided in particular sections. But that's not strictly a formality. Each portion of tracks 1 & 3 is designed to have their own personality and be part of a whole at once; on the other hand, 'Go the Way You Go' comprises a fewer amount of motifs, integrated with each other in such a compact way that not one of them can afford a place of its own. All of these motifs are properly developed and adorned to expand the song to 12- minute duration, without dragging around or becoming unnecessarily repetitive - IMHO, this is the best track in the album. The sense of epic splendour achieved in the most pompous passages is well accomplished, and it also contains some of the best interplaying between the foursome, particularly in the jazzier moments. Last but not least, we are treated a shorter song ('only' 6 minute long), 'On the Edge': this piece is so catchy that you might as well want to listen to it after the album is over, or maybe you'll go humming its main theme in your head for a couple of hours. Anyway, it's clear that this track is accurately placed to cause a lasting impression of excitement in the listener's mind. "The Light" was an excellent starting point for SB, and as such it will always be remembered: one of its major merits was that it helped strongly to reinforce the new found faith that prog rock had found during the 90s.
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |


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