INTELLIGENT MUSIC PROJECT VI/Creation: Who'd have figured a bunch of foreigners and geezers would get together and make some of the most credible sounding prog this side of the actual 70s. Nothing ersatz here. The sound, the fury, the imagery, it's all right in the pocket. Can the once sound of the suburbs come back to reclaim it's territory? Don't count this session out, it goes the distance.
MARCELO PAGANINI/Identity Crisis: What if Leonard Cohen sounded like a 70s rock vocalist and wrote about cosmic things? Hmmm. Certainly not strange for the sake of being strange, this is a clearly out there session that was made to wrap itself around the angular mind. Just right for those waiting on a dose of modern psychedelic stuff without the noodling.
DBA IV/Halcyon Hymns: Downes and Bearde were there and they've brought along Roger Dean and his art kit to let you know they mean business. Riding more of the symphonic rock tip, there's a vibe here that's somewhere between ambient and McDonald & Giles. You even get a bonus disc of Roger Dean visuals in action. If you own more than a few Yes splinter albums, you'll be queuing this up at Amazon for sure.
(Cherry Red 5)
RICHARD BARBIERI/Under a Spell: The keyboard man from Porcupine Tree continues to veer off in other worldly directions on this set that goes it's own way but does have Percy Jones along on bass. Space rock for non space heads, this is what happens when new age and ambient fall into the hands of non new agers. And that might be you.
(K Scope 685)
STRAWBS/Settlement: The folk rocking band of Daves go nearly as dark as "The Wall" here in this new recording that was made in socially distanced fashion. A bunch of geezers blowing off the dust, they still have loads of rocking in their hearts and are determined to pick up where they left off.
(Esoteric Antenna 1037)
BEBOP DELUXE/Drastic Plastic: One of those classic rock crew that makes it clear, in their case, that too much is never enough. A twofer where the only difference between the discs is the mixes of the songs and choice of bonus tracks, this set finds Shredder Nelson playing with some new toys and pushing boundaries. Cleverly bringing malcontent elements into the mainstream ahead of schedule, it's a detour from where they had been but an interesting look at where they were going. The thrills and spills kick ass throughout.
DISTRICT 97/Screenplay: You gotta love the way this Chicago bunch has brought their sound to the world. Showing remarkable growth since their debut, they know their way around off the beaten track prog and know how to amp it up as well. Serving up a twofer with John Wetton and a bunch of Crimson in the stack, it's a nu world rolling out in a nu way. Deep stuff for disaffected youngsters that need a voice.
(Cherry Red 5)
ILLUMINAE/Dark Horizons: A pair of underground rockers unite their prog sensibilities into one of those dates that finds the Goth in Celt, layers it in symphonic rock and adds more layers from there. A commercial prog trip, betcha is has the stuff that it takes to reach deep into the suburbs these days. That reach is augmented by the guest list of a bunch of A list rockers that drop a lick to two along the way.
CARL VERHEYEN/Sundial: A classic guitar rocker that's long since proved he can play anything and do it in righteous fashion used the pandemic lock down to make an eclectic record that pleased him and hopes it pleases you as well. With an unbridled spirit that seems a good antidote to cooped up reality, Verhayen simply brings back the fun. By not trying to hit the mark, he hit sit and set sit on fire.
STEVE CROPPER/Fire It Up: The kid from New Haven has certainly had an interesting run over the last 50 years but this late period rocker with one of the real ground zero cats might just be Jon Tiven's shining moment. If you close your eyes you can hear a young Steve Cropper, even if it's not 1962 (the sound is a little too industrial for what he was laying down back then). Hard hitting stuff with no dust on it, this blues brother of a soul man can still play it, Steve. A real wake up call for anyone that really wants to rock.
Volume 45/Number 132
March 12, 2021
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2021 Midwest Record
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