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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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Mr. Mustard
5 stars I, like I'm sure many people, heard of Spock's Beard through listening to Transatlantic where Neal Morse was of course a member. Based on the brilliance of those three albums I decided to check out what the Beard had going for them. Let's just say they have become one of my top five favorite bands.

The Light is where I started, and what a fantastic debut album it is. The best way to describe this album and Spock's Beard in general is simply Gentle Giant mixed with Genesis and Yes with a spoonful of pop on top. They are not afraid of showing their influences, especially Gentle Giant, which dominates their earlier albums including this one.

Neal Morse is the main songwriter, but I like the input everyone has in their own sound. The bass is deep and aggressive, the guitar is in your face and distorted, and the piano is pristine and pretty. I must also praise Neal Morse, who remains my second favorite vocalist behind Paul McCartney.

The album opens with the fantastic title song 'The Light.' (10/10) A lot is going on in this song. It opens with a beautiful melody played on piano and quickly evolves to an in your face explosion of prog with every instrument doing their thing. Vocals alternate with instrumentals as the melodies flow non-stop. Eventually there is a Spanish-styled guitar driven section 11 minutes in and you can tell these guys don't take themselves seriously. The music on this song is exciting, energetic, and fun.

'Go the Way You Go' (10/10) begins with a flurry of synth sounds before unleashing the main melody which is found later in the song. The bass has a life of its own as Neal plays a playful melody on keys. By 2:30 there is what I call a "Spock's Beard Breakdown" where all the instruments compete to make as much noise as possible. But this is contrasted by the softer acoustic section and singing of the chorus by the whole band. The melodies keep coming and coming. My personal favorite of the song is the one at 7:30 which is led by the driving bass. The song is an overall perfect example of Spock's Beard at their finest.

'The Water' (8/10) probably gives people mixed feelings as I know it does me. It's the Spock's first 20+ minute epic and is chocked full with great ideas. Yet it seems to lack cohesion and these ideas just seem to wander. There are plenty of good melodies in the song, and I absolutely love what Alan Morse does with his guitar starting at 4:10. The bass is amazing in this section as well. The mellotron-led 'Thief In the Night' section is nice, as is the FU section. But this song just falls short of their other epics like At the End of the Day and The Great Nothing.

'On the Edge' (7/10) is just a decent Spock's Beard at best. But then again, even a decent Beard tune is amazing.

Though the Light is not my favorite Spock's album, it remains one their best and is an amazing debut for this amazing band.


Mr. Mustard | 5/5 |


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