Spock's Beard
Feel Euphoria


2.5
average

Review

by ProgressiveTheory USER (9 Reviews)
July 25th, 2009 | 30 replies


Release Date: 2003 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Feel Euphoria is a combination of mainstream rock and progressive rock which works... sometimes.

Spock’s Beard appear to be on similar tracks as progressive icons Genesis and Rush: the drummer has replaced the singer and the songs are shortening up. Feel Euphoria is a combination of mainstream rock and progressive rock which sometimes works, while other times it just leaves the listener with a big question mark.

Feel Euphoria is the first album Spock’s Beard recorded after Neal Morse, previously the primary singer/songwriter, left the group. Thusly for this record, Nick D'Virgilio, the drummer/percussionist took over all of Neal’s duties – drastically affecting the band’s sound due to new ways of writing music for the group. From the moment that the record kicks off with “Onomatopoeia” the listener is instantly aware that Spock’s Beard has become much more rock than prog. Low synths and guitars grind along in such a way that marks drastic change for the band. Another change is the quality of the vocals from the change in lead singers: Nick has a considerably airier voice than Neal did, and therefore some passages that would have been much fuller with Neal are dry and leave the listener trying to hear the actual pitch within the raspy air.

In some songs the band desperately tries to retain their progressive touch but fall far from it. A prime example is the way “Shining Star” begins with traditional percussion but inevitably falls into the genre of ‘bad, overplayed radio songs.’ Luckily some parts of the song are still good, but trying to reclaim a radio ballad with decent keyboard effects or vocal harmonies just doesn’t cut it. For some parts of the album that do retain the band’s former progressive rock sound, music just feels uninspired and unsettling. Occasionally parts which appear to be attempts at making a technically amazing solo just end up being forced wankery with which many progressive acts have given a bad name to the genre. One more problem is that Spock’s Beard are usually good at tastefully citing influences, but when influences are Yes in the 80’s, the sound is just set up to fail. Certain things on the album are easily recognizable as bad instrumentation, even to those who wouldn’t normally notice instrumentation flaws. For example, overdriven organ sounds mixed with classic rock chug-chug is simply put a horrible combination. Another extremely horrible thing is the couple seconds of borderline hip-hop in the title track. Lyrically the album just seems like it was written quickly and lazily. The following excerpt from “A Guy Named Sid” Part IV is just overly plain and sounds like something an angst-filled teenager wrote in his bedroom.

“This is the story of a guy named Sid
Who lost his heart when he was just a kid
Don't judge him on the things that he did
This is the story of a guy named Sid”

But every thorn has its rose; this otherwise unentertaining album does have some high points. Part III of “A Guy Named Sid” is actually quite enjoyable and doesn’t feel overdone at all (the bVI-bVII-I progression with second inversions is sublime). Some of the writing on Part VI is not quite in the progressive genre but still can be fun if you’re a fan of any kind of rock. Even though the melodies here don’t compare with those on V they’re still decent enough to be moderately satisfying. Tracks like the closer, “Carry On,” add interesting solos, wind instrument sounds, and unexpected chords to progressions that would otherwise be fit for playing in a local mall or a modern radio station. It’s amazing that some parts of tracks like “The Bottom Line” can have such great, placid sections that are so thought-provoking and yet still disappoint on an overall level due to too many style changes from radio rock to progressive. The bad news is that this somewhat decent, but overall unstable sound is a great representation of what to expect from the album.

Therefore this album sits a little lower than being good but it’s not all poor. Some things that deserve an honorable mention are “Sid’s Boys Choir” (which is possibly the weirdest song on the record, being just vocals), the chord progression in the first part of “Carry On,” and the good sections of “The Bottom Line.” For big fans of Spock’s Beard, this is probably not the album you want to get, as it really doesn’t compare with their previous works at all and ends up being at the lower end of their discography.



Recent reviews by this author
Symphony X IconoclastGentle Giant The Power and the Glory
Ibrahim Maalouf DiasporasEmerson, Lake and Palmer Tarkus
Gotic EscenesIQ Dark Matter
user ratings (34)
Chart.
2.8
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
ProgressiveTheory
July 26th 2009


44 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Any constructive comments are welcome!

Prophet178
July 26th 2009


6397 Comments


I've never heard the album, but i've heard of the band. Judging from the review, this would not be the best place to start.

Definitely a step up from your last review, great job!

ProgressiveTheory
July 26th 2009


44 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Thanks! If you want to get into this band the best place imo to start is V. Especially the amazing first track. Even tho this album thoroughly disappointed me, i think V is one of the greats of prog i

Prophet178
July 26th 2009


6397 Comments


Cool, i'll definitely check it out.

jrowa001
July 26th 2009


8750 Comments


Spock's Beard have always been a band that despite how talented they are i could never truly get into. V is the only album ive been able to listen to all the way. its weird cuz i love Neal Morse's solo albums. i havent heard this album, but i know i dont like Nick's vocals on their last album. ill have to listen to V again and see what im missing

MassiveAttack
July 26th 2009


2688 Comments


Yea I agree jrowa, someone recommended me V and it was kind of a chore to listen through.

jrowa001
July 26th 2009


8750 Comments


yeah even thought V was the only album of theirs that ive listened to that i actually sat through the whole thing, it was still a chore to sit through.

ProgressiveTheory
July 26th 2009


44 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I still think 'At the End of the Day' is awesome.

Nagrarok
July 26th 2009


8266 Comments


Rush: the drummer has replaced the singer

....Uhhhhh

Other than that, pretty decent review. I've heard of this band but never listened anything by them. Where should I start?

ProgressiveTheory
July 26th 2009


44 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

no no no no. read farther: i used genesis and rush refering to seperate things respectively.

"... icons Genesis and Rush: the drummer has replaced the singer and the songs are shortening up"

Phil Collins took up the mic, rush shortened their songs from twenty minutes to four. that should clarify things...

This band is talented for sure, but a lot of people just don't like them that much. V is a great album imo but does have some filler things. The first track off that one is my fav from SB.

Nagrarok
July 26th 2009


8266 Comments


It reads like it counts for both bands though, just saying. And Rush didn't make THAT many 20+ minute songs. They still made loads of longer songs (around 6 min) recently.

ProgressiveTheory
July 26th 2009


44 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

No, but if you look at their discography, most of their epics (2112, Hemispheres, Fountain of Lamneth, etc.) were in their earlier works

Nagrarok
July 26th 2009


8266 Comments


Yes ok, but the difference in Genesis and Rush going more mainstream is very, very large.

ProgressiveTheory
July 26th 2009


44 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Yeah, but the point was that both of them did. and so did SB even if their sound isn't the same as Genesis or Rush. They just had two similar moves that i felt were similar enough to state.

EasternLight
July 26th 2009


2700 Comments


best band name evar

Willie
Moderator
July 28th 2009


16073 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Keep the prog reviews coming. Very nice.

Is this the guy that plays drums for Fates Warning occasionally?

ProgressiveTheory
July 29th 2009


44 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I know fo sho he did drums for FW on their 2005 tour

Willie
Moderator
July 29th 2009


16073 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Yeah, that's what I meant. He's on their "Live in Greece" DVD. He doesn't do a very good job of replicating Mark Zonder's parts though.

ProgressiveTheory
July 30th 2009


44 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Actually a lot of things he does on this album are lackluster as well.... hmm...


cb123
January 30th 2012


2042 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

one of the worst prog albums i've listened to, nothing seems to flow or fit together in any sort of way that works, bit of a weird listen really



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy