Review Summary: Spock's Beard is a hook heavy progressive rock album that has great musicianship and plenty of diversity but still manages to stay consistent. This rewarding CD is well worth the trip to the local CD shop.1 of 2 thought this review was well written
Well... straight to the point. Here on the chopping block for today is Spock's Beard's eponymous ninth album. I don't have any other Spock's Beard albums, so I will NOT be comparing it to any of their previous works. So here is a rundown of each tune on this very good, very consistent, but still varied album.
1. On A Perfect Day- 7:47
Awesome opening track. Starts off with a rather stimulating guitar lick followed by a cool keyboard lick. It's an epic track about what seems to be a new world dawning as a new age begins. Yes, epic. It has a pretty typical song structure but is guaranteed to keep you entertained for the whole running time. Very good song. One of the best on the album. 9/10
2. Skeletons At The Feast- 6:33
A really cool instrumental and another highlight on the album. It starts off with a keyboard part that is in some weird time signature. A rather heavy guitar comes in with some more synth textures and the song takes off. Very soon in the song comes a rippin' guitar solo. Guitarist Alan Morse proves he is a really really kick-ass guitarist. At about 2:13 a nice bassline comes in and at 2:41 the song sort of turns into a very happy sounding songs with some nifty riffage. But wait- that heavy guitar i mentioned not too long ago comes back in. Yes the song takes lots of twists, musically. Another outstanding track. 10/10
3. Is This Love- 2:51
The Shortest song on the album really isn't very progressive for a progressive band, but it's still a fun listen. It's just a hard rock love song with good energy with sharp lyrics and cool guitar licks. Nothing incredible but a fun listen. 7/10
4. All That's Left- 4:45
A slower, more low key song it has a nice chorus and is very relaxing. It isn't one of my favorites though. It's one of those songs you come across where you like it, but no matter how many times you hear it, you can never remember how it goes. Good, short guitar solo near the 3 minute mark is a good moment. 6/10
5. With Your Kiss- 11:46
The longest song on the album starts off well with a cool synth closely followed by very mellow vocals. Good, sharp songwriting keep you interested with the vocals-led part for the first couple minutes. Some nice steady drums come in around 4:10. A guitar solo comes in at about 4:55 and goes for about a minute. Its nothing super insane but i think it's really good. At 5:55 all the solos stop, the drums stop everything stops, and out of the speakers comes a somewhat creepy sounding vocal part with some very dark synths and heavy guitar adding some atmosphere to the synths. Soon after a very groovy drum beat comes in followed by an awesome guitar riff and catchy vocals. After this the song shifts gears yet again just before the 9 minute mark. This time it's an acoustic passage with more mellow vocals. A mid-tempo rock passage follows and another guitar solo is unleashed. Another song that covers lots of ground. It's not quite a good as the first two songs but it is still well worth the listen and will most definitely keep your attention on the music. 8/10
6. Sometimes They Stay, Sometimes They Go- 4:32
Another pretty typical hard rock song about stuff that sometimes stays and sometimes goes, i guess. I'm not really sure what it's about. Good hooks and good riffs and a good song. 8/10
7. The Slow Crash Landing Man- 5:47
Another slow song, but this one is more of a ballad. It seems to me that it’s about a man who has gained infinite knowledge in his travels. Yet another good tune with a good chorus, but not as great as the first two. 7/10
8. Wherever You Stand- 5:09
A hard rock song about how people love to fight with each other, and how that’s never going to change. Cool and upbeat. Very good. 8/10
9. Hereafter- 5:01
Every album everywhere always has its low point. Spock’s Beard is no exception. And Hereafter is it. A very slow, piano ballad is what it is. The song is overlong and is rather boring. It doesn’t really give you any reason to keep listening. It just isn’t interesting. 3/10
10. As Far As The Mind Can See Pt. 1: Dreaming In The Age Of Answers- 4:49
Here we have the album’s epic multi-track song. This track sets the stage for the rest of the rest of the song and is rather epic in and of itself. Since tracks 10 through 13 are all one song and do not function properly without each other, I am going to give them all one score.
11. As Far As The Mind Can See Pt. 2: Here’s A Man- 3:28
My favorite part of AFATMCS. This part seems to be about a crime boss or something along those lines who is about to die of some unknown cause. Cool lyrics and a good chorus and very creative, musically.
12. As Far As The Mind Can See Pt. 3: They Know We Know- 3:18
My second favorite track in this epic song. Keyboard jabs give the track some attitude to the chorus.
13. As Far As The Mind Can See Pt. 4: Stream Of Unconsciousness- 5:23
The closing track of the song transitions seamlessly from the previous one and starts off with a nifty guitar lick. This track is mostly a refrain to the first one but of course is arranged differently It does a great job closing the song and makes the whole thing worth listening to all the way through, as it should be.
As Far As The Mind Can See gets a final score of 9/10
14. Rearranged- 6:07
Spock’s Beard ends on a very high note with the awesome closing track Rearranged. It’s a rather epic sounding song about doing what you love to do not for the money, but for the experience. Has probably the greatest chorus of all the songs on the CD and really shows off singer/drummer Nick D’Virgilio’s chops at both duties. My favorite song on the album. If you download nothing else, download this.
So there you have it. I hope the length of the review didn’t bother you too much. Spock’s Beard have a great album on their hands with plenty of worthy songs. Definitely check this out if you are looking for a high standard of musicianship and hook heavy progressive rock, if there is such a thing.