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Pattern-Seeking Animals

Crossover Prog

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Pattern-Seeking Animals Prehensile Tales album cover
3.64 | 117 ratings | 4 reviews | 17% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2020

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Raining Hard in Heaven (8:31)
2. Here in My Autumn (7:57)
3. Elegant Vampires (4:29)
4. Why Don't We Run (5:09)
5. Lifeboat (17:20) :
- i. Nearer Now to Heaven
- ii. Fitful Dreams
- iii. Dull the Sword of Damocles
- iv. Never More Than Human
- v. What Happens When You Die
6. Soon but Not Today (12:03)

Total Time 55:29

Line-up / Musicians

- Ted Leonard / lead vocals, guitars
- John Boegehold / keyboards
- Dave Meros / bass
- Jimmy Keegan / drums, vocals

Releases information

Label: InsideOutMusic
Format: Gatefold 2LP plus CD, Limited Edition CD, Digital
May 15, 2020

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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PATTERN-SEEKING ANIMALS Prehensile Tales ratings distribution

(117 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(17%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(51%)
Good, but non-essential (25%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

PATTERN-SEEKING ANIMALS Prehensile Tales reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Pattern-Seeking Animals is an impressive new band, that technically isn't "new" in the sense of how you would typically think of it, even though they were initiated in 2018. Three of the members of the band were members of "Spock's Beard"; Ted Leonard, (guitar, vocals), Jimmy Keegan (drums, voices), and Dave Meros (bass) who were joined by contributing songwriter John Boegehold (keyboards), who also brings in his own influences to the musical stew. They released their acclaimed, self-titled, debut album in 2019 and quickly followed this up with the excellent "Prehensile Tales" in May of 2020.

Once again, the band hits the ground running with this album, beginning with the perfect opening "Raining Hard in Heaven", a progressive and powerful 8+ minute track that will grab your attention right away. All of the musicians shine while none take the "limelight", but instead provide equal opportunity for each one of them to prove their strength as an entire group. This track is one of the highlights for the album. At this point, the band moves into a more accessible style with three less progressive (yet equally satisfying, nonetheless) tracks that keep your interest as the album continues. This includes the considerably catchy "Elegant Vampires" which leaves you with a memorable groove and engaging vocals and melody.

At this point, the album returns to a more progressive stance as two more highlights close off the album. These are the exceptional "Lifeboat" at over 17 minutes, and the excellent and emotional 12 minute closer "Soon But Not Today". Both of these tracks would definitely fit comfortably on a 5 star album as both of them are amazing kaleidoscopes of dynamics, tempo and meter shifts and well-constructed tracks. This is a perfect way to end this album.

So, as it would seem, the longer tracks are the better ones and these all open and close the album, and on their own would merit 5-star compositions. It's the middle three tracks that tend to make the album lose a bit of progressive steam, even though as just regular tracks, are still pretty great. But sadly, they bring down the overall score of the album in a progressive sense. Because of the best tracks, which easily take up 's of the album, this is definitely an album that should not be ignored, and that is from a person that is not a big fan of Spock's Beard (mostly because I don't care for Neal Morse's vocals that much). Overall, I consider this a 4 star album, but have to round it down to 4 in the end. However, I still would encourage everyone to listen because the high points do make up most of the album and they are excellent "highs".

Review by kev rowland
4 stars Given that Ted Leonard (lead vocals, guitar) and Dave Meros (bass) are both members of Spock's Beard, drummer Jimmy Keegan was in the band for a large number of years, keyboard player John Boegehold is a long-time collaborator of that band plus it was recorded by Rich Mouser at The Mouse House then we all know what this sounds like, right? Well, yes, and no. If you thought this was a new Spock's Beard album in all but name then you're wrong, but if you felt it was likely this was going to be a top notch progressive rock album from musicians who have long been at the top of their game, then you are right. When I saw Enchant support Spock's Beard in London back in 2003, there was no doubt in my mind who was the top band of the night, and it wasn't the Beard.: this from someone who in previous years had been telling anyone who would listen that Spock's Beard were amazing, incredible, wonderful etc. etc. To me they lost their way after the departure of Neal, and it was when Ted joined the band that they regained their mojo. He has always been a great singer, and I clearly remember the impact 'A Blueprint Of The World' had on me more than 25 years ago. Keegan has always been a great drummer in whatever band he is playing with, it is no mean feat to take over from someone like D'Virgilio, especially when he was still in the band while Meros has always been a great bassist who seems to be able to turn his hand to anything. Then you have Boegehold, who may not be as well known as the others, but there was serious discussion about him joining Spock's Beard before they found Ryo Okumoto.

With all these guys involved, plus of course the work by Mouser, there was never any doubt that this was going to be a very melodic progressive rock album with great songs and performances. Interestingly, it is probably the rhythm section which has the most out and out musicianship, with keyboards and guitar more for emphasis and allowing the vocals to have something to be pitched against. They have also added some additional instrumentation in violin, flute, trumpet, cello, sax and pedal steel, all of which add additional nuances and styles to the band. For playing gigs they are adding two multi-instrumentalists to the band to be able to do the music justice. This is their second album, and the second they have released since the Beard's last release 'Noise Floor', so it will be interesting to see what the next Spock's Beard album is like, as with this one they have been raising the bar. There may be only six songs, but it is still 55 minutes long, and anyone who is pining for Enchant and Spock's Beard will find in this a great coming together of the bands and minds with music which I have even found myself whistling along to. I mean, what is that all about? This is prog isn't it?

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This relatively recently-formed band's second album in two years. It's very well produced music from prog veterans who mostly hail from older versions of SPOCK'S BEARD.

1. "Raining Hard in Heaven" (8:31) a rough start with some very "mainstream" poppy musical themes used to try to hook us into an upbeat feel. There are, however, some nice ideas developed in the second half. (17.5/20)

2. "Here in My Autumn" (7:57) I'm already tired of the "repeat three times" approach to hook lines and choruses used by these guys. Again, the sounds and styles here are all slight variations on that which is already familiar. Nice sound and instrumental performances of a mature composition. (13/15)

3. "Elegant Vampires" (4:30) nice Mediterranean and Celtic flavor to the opening and secondary motifs to this song. I like that they are continued into the singing part. Ted Leonard has a very pleasant voice that I'm getting used to. A pleasant, nonoffensive song. (8.75/10)

4. "Why Don't We Run?" (5:09) even more southern Mediterranean sounds/flavors to this one--until the chorus comes, it sounds like it could come straight off of a MYRATH album! Not very interesting or likable chorus (unless you're still stuck in a Trevor Horn/Frankie Goes to Hollywood 1980s). I especially don't like the near-disco beat that follows and plays out over the rest of the song. (8.25/10)

5. "Lifeboat" (17:20) after a two minute introduction of bombast, the story begins to be told over a sparsely landscaped foundation. Moving into the "everybody into the lifeboats" chorus the band kicks back in with the aplomb of ASIA or PHIL COLLINS. A switch near the five-minute mark comes with a change in perspective from the story teller/singer--complete with its own very Tony BANKSian musical motifs and chorus. (I think he's the stowaway.) At 8:40 we again shift into a new section--this time with a very real "Relax" bass and drum line and rolling piano arpeggio. I'm beginning to discover a weakness in Ted's voice in that he's not quite chameleonic enough to pull off the many personality perspectives he's trying to use. Had I not heard so much prog in my life--had I not heard thousands of prog epics over the course of my 50 years as a prog lover--this might come off as a pretty cool, exciting song. Maybe that's the problem with today's prog artists: They have to please us old-timers. Perhaps it'd be better if we either just died off or moved on to derive our pleasure through some other musical form. (30.25/35)

6. "Soon But Not Today" (12:03) an interesting if sedate intro breaks into a DANNY ELFMAN song with the caveat of having the balls to use a near-reggae motif to support it through the second section. Nice instrumental performances through the first instrumental section. At the six-minute mark we slow down and enter BIG BIG TRAIN territory with a spacious folk pastoral soundscape. A minute later we're moving into a more layered, BEATLES-esque theatricity with horns and long, pretty vocal notes and background vocals and GEORGE HARRISON- like lead guitar soli. The BEATLESness seems only amplified by the use of the Greek chorus and celebratory background shouts and screams of the next part of this section (as well as the continued Sgt. Pepper's-like use of horns). As an homage, pretty cool. As an original piece of music, a bit cloying. (21.75/25)

Total Time 55:30

Like the band from which three of these musicians came, I find the music here a "lite" version of prog--one in which most of the sounds, ideas, themes, styles, and even riffs have been iterated and reiterated to death (in the Neo Prog world) so that they now feel old even when you hear them for the first time. Like the Beard, even the lyrics and their subject matter seem hokey or as if they've been created to fit a list of topics that are popular with the masses.

B/four stars; a very pleasant collection of eminently listenable and professionally composed and performed melody-based progressive rock songs.

Review by A Crimson Mellotron
3 stars The second album from Pattern-Seeking Animals is now available for people to enjoy! Turns out the band's promise to release an album a year might be kept, as this is the members' side project. I must say that I was disappointed by the first album - it didn't feel quite complete and I did not spend too much time with it, just to revise it again upon the release of 'Prehensile Tales', and to discover that I still do not enjoy it that much.

Now, about this album: 'Raining Hard in Heaven' opens up with this groovy and super catchy bass line, and continues to unfold in a very poppy way, which is obviously what the band's trying to achieve - to mix accessible sounds with more adventurous song structures. Not sure if I enjoy the chorus as much as the verse. The song goes through an instrumental mid-section that is quite reminiscent of the Spock's Beard releases from the last decade, and this is not bad at all!

Next up on the track list is 'Here in My Autumn'. Which is almost like a logical continuation of the previous track, pretty similar song structure, even the lengths are almost the same. Not a bad track, as well, I must say. The third song is probably my favorite on this album - and so far, my favorite song from the band's catalogue. It is the track that best encapsulates the philosophy and the main idea of P-SA: to write prog-pop numbers with adventurous instrumentation and catchy hooks.

'Elegant Vampires' is undoubtedly the most memorable and enjoyable track for me. Also, so far, the first three tracks were all released as singles which is a bit strange given that the album is just 6 tracks. It is kind of disappointing to know what half of the record sounds like before being released. However, 'Elegant Vampires' is a great track!

Next up is another shorter song ? 'Why Don't We Run'. It sets an interesting mood although it is a bit different from what came before it and from what will come after it. Not too much to say about it, except that it has a more generic sound. Then it comes - the 17-minute 'Lifeboat' - the song that should be teasing prog fans and scaring the ones who turn to P-SA for more accessible songs. Usually, the first question I ask myself when listening to such a large chunk of music is - is it worth the time? Does the song provide the epic feel, the dynamics, the pay-off that one expects from a seventeen-minute piece? Well, in this case, the band really managed to make a really enjoyable song with a couple of surprises throughout, the best of which is the sax that really elevated the song's experience for me. A chunky guitar solo from Leonard was also lovely to hear, a bit of mellotron and violin, too. Great chorus, and intelligent lyrics. Definitely beautiful track that I feel would also fit perfectly in an SB album, if they were to release one this year!

Finally, we arrive at the 12-minute 'Soon but Not Today', the album closer. This song continues the spirit of all the rest that came before it, combining the playful tones of the first three songs in the first six minutes and some 70s symphonic rock melodies in its second half. Another enjoyable one and a proper finish that also leaves an open ending for the band to embrace.

Great vocal performance by Leonard throughout this whole thing, his voice really seems to get better with age, and also really strong backing vocals from Keegan, and a super tasty bass tone from Dave Meros! What is there to say about the instrumentation? The band members are well-known and experienced masters of their instruments, maybe Boegehold's abilities were more unknown but are no less great than the other members'.

'Prehensile Tales' is a much more sonically organized and comprehensive album than its predecessor. This time the band manages to create a sonic experience that is captivating but also enjoyable throughout the whole time.

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