Spock's Beard - Snow
I pretty much stopped following these guys after 2000's V
, which I found to be entirely forgettable. But after listening to some of it on YouTube, and reading some reviews online, I decided to order a used copy of Snow
. It's actually pretty good.
The circumstances surrounding the creation of this album have some rather odd parallels with Genesis' Lamb Lies Down on Broadway
. It's the band's 6th studio release, it's a double album, and is their only release to have a single over-arching concept tying the entire album together. But wait, there's more... it's also set in New York City, was written almost entirely by the lead singer (who quit the band shortly after the album was released), and it received mixed reviews on release. Heh.
Anyhow, musically (and as with most of SB's albums), it draws liberally on Yes, Gentle Giant, and (IMO to a lesser extent) Genesis and King Crimson as influences. It definitely wears its '70s prog rock influences on its sleeve. There are a few tracks here and there that feel somewhat predictable, or drag out a little longer than they need to; but overall this is a solid release.
Here's the entire thing on YouTube if you're curious:
Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9LUUZleMcs
Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3SOkEF7Ewsk
Check out the first few bars of the instrumental intro to Part 2 -- blatant rip-off of (or homage to) Yes' "Heart Of The Sunrise". Then about a minute and a half in it starts to take a left turn, and at 1:50 launches into something that could easily be mistaken for vintage King Crimson. That whole section made me
If you're a fan of epic prog rock concept pieces, you'll probably enjoy this.
(Note: Some of the lyrics do have some overt spiritual content to them, as Neal Morse had recently become "Born Again" when he wrote most of this album. So if that's gonna put you off, maybe this isn't your cup of tea.)