Review Summary: Proggin' just ain't what it used to be...
I can remember it vividlyâ€"the summer of my senior year of high school. This was time of growing up and growing older, with changes on the horizon, and the fleeting youth behind me. More importantly, however, was progressive rock, and more specifically, the â€śneo-progâ€ť movement of the 2000â€™s. The idea that songs could consist of multiple movements, span ten minutes, and be filled to the brim with spacey guitars and meandering melodies was mind blowing. It was as if I had stumbled onto a different realm of music, and one which deserved unwavering hyperbolic claim.
Needless to say, I was diluted in my vulnerable and more impressionable youth.
Riverside, a Polish progressive rock band that rose to prominence in the mid-2000â€™s, was one such band that grabbed my attention back then. And truly, Riverside has displayed excellence, stepping outside the mold just enough to come off as refreshing, interesting, and wholly appealing. That being said, the passing of time has tarnished the groupâ€™s once intriguing sound, buffeting their once polished veneer, revealing a collective of musicians whoâ€™ve lost faith in what they do as they cling helplessly to the conventions of a genre thatâ€™s since become tired and uninspired.
Now this isnâ€™t an affront to progressive rock as a whole, not in the least. However, Riversideâ€™s latest EP, Memories In My Head
(as opposed to where else?) shows a trend that Riverside, and prog rock in general, have been following. Spacey soundscapes, indulgent guitar melodies, and aimless songwriting all rear their ugly heads on Memories In My Head
, giving an overpowering sense of â€śdĂ©jĂ* vu.â€ť This is the same band that put out Out of Myself
and Second Life Syndrome
, and thereâ€™s no way in hell that they want you to forget that. True, those were both fantastic releases, but hearing them time and time again becomes tiring. In this respect, their latest suffers from the same blight as 2009 Anno Domini High Definition
â€"the feeling, not only of familiarity, but of stagnation.
And that seems to be exactly how to surmise Memories In My Head
â€"stale, vapid, and stagnate. The three selections here arenâ€™t terrible, per se, but they certainly where out their welcome, which is an unfortunate sentiment considering the unnecessary length of each piece. Flashes of intrigue can be found, but they are soon swallowed up by whichever indulgent guitar solo Riverside decided to throw in. Sure, these moments sound exciting at first, but when minute six hits and the song has yet to go anywhere, whatever enjoyment was being had disintegrates. Such is the story of Memories In My Head
Memories In My Head
will find its appeal in the doldrums of prog-rock fandom, that much is certain. Yet those wishing for a meatier, more substantial experience will have to look elsewhere, as Riversides latest EP is nothing more than a shade of a band who once cared for their craft.