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Spock's Beard - "Snow"
InsideOut / SPV 2002

What comes out if we breed psycho prog Rock of the 60's and 70's with The Beatles? Guaranteed quality under the name of Spock's Beard. Guys released the hardest output so far. The music is once a complete fusion of everything. From bluesy touches (intro of "Stranger In A Strange Land"), slightly 70's disco rhythm fills ("Snow's Night Out"), jazzy piano ("Reflection") and funky grooving ("Open The Gates Part II", "Welcome To NYC", "Freak Boy"). And I ensure you that this is not all. It's alive, very much alive. Production keeps all the aliveness. There is no instrument that would overdominate the other, just complete balance.

This is a conceptual double album that talks about an albino guy called Snow. He finds out how hard life can be in this "normal" rules invented by "normal" society and he feels denied by that "normal" majority. But he discovers the ability to be some kind of "soul healer", helping the pathetic people to set their minds free. But when he finds a girl, love of his life, the emotions are too strong to hold them back. He is rejected by that girl and faced with self-destruction. But don't worry. This tale has a happy ending because it was written by the loyal Uncle Sam citizens.

Neil and Ryo serve a great keyboard session time. Grand piano and Hammond organ strike as twins, achieving great soundfull atmosphere. In his solo track Ryo reminds me of Keith Emerson. Neil's brother Alan is another special fellow with a hard guitar grip. He likes to use flenger very much. He does complete jamming by fusioning all sort of different music styles. Dynamics, aliveness and great atmosphere throughout entire record are winning over the music school education of the band members. You can feel great chemistry between band's members that is hard to find these days. A music that is soulful. So as the story goes, the songs follow it. We have perfect fluctuation between groovier (harder) pieces and slower ones. Neil's "dry smoked" colored voice reminds sometimes very much of J.Lennon. Especially in songs as "I'm The Guy", "Freak Boy" or "Devil's Got My Throat". Sometimes, in slower parts, he almost sings narratives.

Well, that's not all. The music is also spiced with involvement of trumpets and saxophones ("Second Overture", "4th Of July" or wild progy runner called "Snow's Night Out") and on the other side by cellos, violas and violins to give the music even wider dimensions. Uaaau, "All Is Vanity", what great organ work by Ryo.

Pure spontaneity of primal feelings that are flowing through band members into fantastic fusion. Just listen and listen, you won't be able to eat or catch this music, a music that has no time and no frames.

Author:   Aleš

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