Spock's Beard - Spock's Beard
InsideOut Music
Progressive Rock
14 songs (77'13)
Release year: 2006
Spock's Beard, InsideOut Music
Reviewed by Marty
This new self-titled album by veteran prog rockers Spock's Beard is the third album to be released after the departure of front man Neal Morse who left after the recording and subsequent tour for their mega opus, the double disc concept album entitled Snow. The band has soldiered on quite nicely with albums such as Feel Euphoria and Octane and is testament to the depth in both talent and song writing capabilities that's always been a strong point for this band. Neal Morse's special touch to Spock's Beard's music will always be missed but with this new self-titled album, the "Beard" has really taken great strides in redefining and revisiting the "classic sound" of such great albums as Day For Night including more of the richly melodic sense that Neal brought to their sound.

The opening track On A Perfect Day is a real treat for fans of the Neal Morse era of Spock's Beard with it's heavy guitar and organ driven prog rock that makes use of acoustic guitars for some of the verses topped off by some wonderful vocal layering and huge keyboard/synth driven crescendos in the classic Yes tradition. Skeletons At The Feast is an awesome instrumental that uses lots of Hammond organ and synth as well as tons of shredding lead guitar all in a charging and up tempo track. Spirited with lots of tempo changes, this ones evokes a classic Genesis Wind And Wuthering style with the swirling synthesizers as well as the trudging and odd time signature elements of the classic Supper's Ready from the Foxtrot album. Is This Love sees the "Beard" doing a pretty fair Deep Purple impersonation with a track that features their characteristic up tempo style, driving beat, Hammond organ fills and some very Ian Gillan-like vocal styles. It's a fairly simple and "fun" rocker that strays a bit from the usual Spock's Beard sound. Other stand out tracks include the very laid back and atmospheric All That's Left complete with dreamy 70's style vocal layering and some great expressive lead guitar work. With Your Kiss throws passing nods to both Genesis and the very underrated Camel with the vocal melodies and changes in both tempo and atmosphere in an almost 12 minute track that comes full circle with vocal refrains from the first half of the song. The Slow Crash Landing Man with it's slow, dreamy and very melodic style once again shows influences from Camel but this one also has some Pink Floyd nuances. Very laid back in tempo but very rich in melodies and layered vocals, it stands out from the rest of the tracks but works very well within the context of the overall flow of the album. Wherever You Stand gets you in the 70's mood with it's heavy Deep Purple guitar/organ mix and the classic 70's vocal style of bands like Rare Earth, Vanilla Fudge and The Doobie Brothers. This album features a four-part suite entitled As Far As The Mind Can See that slowly builds in intensity for the last two parts, They Know We Know and Stream Of Unconsciousness. However, unlike previous Spock's Beard albums, this opus is not a major highlight of the album although it has it's moments. Following this four part suite the album finishes with the up tempo and abstract track Rearranged that concludes the overall diminishing trend in the quality of the last third of the album. Seeing that this album clocks in at over 77 minutes in length, there's still lots of outstanding Spock's Beard material for the first two-thirds of the album.

Once again we are treated to another fine Spock's Beard album and one that sees most tracks containing very memorable hooks and melodies as well as the usual dramatic and sometimes crazy and wild Spock's Beard sound. All the tracks have a very complete feel to them and they are truly one of the few bands out there currently flying the flag of classic 70's style prog rock very proudly. Their music is timeless and could be released at almost any time in the last 30 years or so and still be relevant and would still find an audience. This new album is a little more like the Octane album but does show elements of the more heavier and up tempo style of older Spock's Beard material. Although it's difficult to re-created the rich melodic textures that Neal Morse brought to the band, they have brought back those elements into their sound; something that was really missing from the last two albums. Practically incapable of ever releasing a substandard album, this album has some amazing songs as well as others that are a little harder to get into with their more "deep" qualities. Much better than Feel Euphoria and right in line with the Octane album, this new album shows Spock's Beard finally getting back on track and recovering from the loss of Neal Morse. The reason for self-titling this album may in fact reflect that very aspect.

Killing Songs :
On A Perfect Day, Skeletons At The Feast, With Your Kiss, The Slow Crash Landing Man and Wherever You Stand
Marty quoted 83 / 100
Aleksie quoted 88 / 100
Other albums by Spock's Beard that we have reviewed:
Spock's Beard - The Kindness Of Strangers reviewed by Aleksie and quoted 91 / 100
Spock's Beard - Beware Of Darkness reviewed by Aleksie and quoted 82 / 100
Spock's Beard - X reviewed by Aleksie and quoted 90 / 100
Spock's Beard - The Light reviewed by Aleksie and quoted 95 / 100
Spock's Beard - Day For Night reviewed by Aleksie and quoted 94 / 100
To see all 10 reviews click here
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