This is probably my favorite album. To give you a quick idea of my tastes, some of the other contenders are Led Zeppelin II, Yes' Close To The Edge, and Rush's Moving Pictures. This is a concept album about a young Puerto Rican gang member named Rael, and the strange events that happen to him seemingly out of nowhere on the streets of New York City (among other places).
Track 1: The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway
The title track opens up with a very fast piano part, erupting into a huge-sounding song, with a driving, distorted bass-line. It introduces Rael, and describes his surroundings. All of a sudden, a lamb lies down in the middle of broadway.
Track 2: Fly On A Windshield
The first track merges into the second, and as Rael watches the lamb lying there, so out of place, a wall descends from the sky and starts moving toward him. Nobody else notices it, but it catches Rael and carries him away. The instruments form a wall of sound, the guitar and synth sound absolutely magnificent as the track moves slowly along.
Track 3: The Broadway Melody of 1974
This track describes the strange images Rael sees inside the cloud-like wall. It is fairly slow, but not soft at all.
Track 4: Cuckoo Cucoon
Rael awakes to find himself wrapped in what seems to be a cucoon. Very slow, guitar-driven song.
Track 5: In The Cage
When Rael is freed from the cucoon, he finds himself in a cage formed by stalactites and stalagmites in what seems to be a cave. Many people pass by, including his brother John who refuses to help him. He struggles to get out, and eventually is released. This song has a lot of keyboard in it, and several distinct parts. It is probably one of the best tracks on the album.
Track 6: The Grand Parade Of Lifeless Packaging
Rael finds himself in some strange factory where they assemble people. This song is best described as quirky. It has a sense of oddness to it that the band brings out wonderfully.
Track 7: Back In N.Y.C.
This song is really amazing. All the different parts, telling of how Rael finds himself home again and some of his history in his gang, are amazing. Great drum work on this track.
Track 8: Hairless Heart.
An instrumental track, the title is taken from some of the rather insane and completely genious lyrics from the end of the previous track: As I cuddled the porcupine, he said I had none to blame but me. Feel my heart, deep in hair, time to shave it off, it off.
Track 9: Counting Out Time
Rael tries to attract a girl he likes with the guidance of a book which guarentees success. A lot of synth in this one.
Track 10: The Carpet Crawlers
Probably the best track on the first disc, it tells of Rael awakening back in the world he was taken to before. He finds himself in a hallway with other people all struggling to get to the door at the end.
Track 11: The Chamber of 32 Doors
A great epic closer for the first disc, Rael describes what he finds at the end of the hallway. Great vocal work.
Track 1: Lilywhite Lilith
A blind woman named Lilith guides him from the chamber they were trapped in. She leaves him on a chair in a room inside the cave they are walking through. The music is very similar to Track 3 on Disc 1 at parts.
Track 2: The Waiting Room
This instrumental begins with a dissonant clatter of bells and such, which after a minute or two the band fades in.
Track 3: Anyway
Trapped in the room by a cave-in, Rael is sure he's going to die. Very dramatic, and dark in places.
Track 4: The Supernatural Anaesthetist
The grim reaper pays Rael a visit. He leaves, and makes a place for Rael to escape. Really freakin weird, but in a good way. Some of the best guitar work on the album.
Track 5: The Lamia
One of the most moving songs I've ever heard. I can't really describe this song in my own words, so I suppose you'll just have to look up the lyrics (you really have to hear it sung, though).
Track 6: Silent Sorrow In Empty Boats
Rael is depressed by the events described in the Lamia. This is a very quiet instrumental, with a lot of soft synth strings.
Track 7: The Colony of Slippermen
The best, and perhaps strangest, track on the album. Rael finds himself in a city populated by twisted freaks, and discovers that he himself must become one. There is a way to undo the spell, but it involves removing something that most men, if not all of them, would miss severely. The organ is placed into a tube to keep if he should change his mind, and a raven grabs it out of his hands. He tries to get assistance from his brother John, who refuses. The bird eventually drops it into a river at the bottom of a...
Track 8: Ravine
This instrumental track is nothing more than the wind for about a minute and a half.
Track 9: The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway
As our hero walks along the walls of the ravine, he sees a portal to NYC. He is ecstatic, and races towards it only to look down and see his brother John drowning in the waters below. He is faced with a very difficult decision: Be trapped here forever and save his selfish brother, or let him die and return home? The music is somewhat reminiscent of the title track, but more emotional and a tad slower.
Track 10: Riding The Scree
Rael runs down the sides of the ravine to save his brother, and dives into the water. Great drums and keys in this tune.
Track 11: In The Rapids
Rael struggles as hard as he can to save his brother. A somewhat slow, and very emotional song.
Track 12: It
The closer is breath-taking, and nothing short of perfect.
I'm not going to tell you what happens, you'll have to buy the cd.
Nothing I've ever heard has moved my as deeply as this album. A lot of the music I listen to is for the instruments, but this is just perfect song-writing. Nothing at all compares to it. The lyrics and melodies are on their own level.