Classic Rock’s New Releases Round-Up
It’s prog time this week, with a selection of reissues and new albums spanning the progressive spectrum. Which is nice.
Words: Malcolm Dome
You don’t get too many surprises on a Jon Anderson album. In fact, you never really get any. So, Survival & Other Stories (Gonzo Media Group) gives us what we expect. If you’re a fan of Anderson’s ethereal, other dimensional approach then this is fine stuff. A good Anderson solo album to remind us that he’s still a force in the firmament.
Veteran proggers Solstice go live with Kindred Spirits (Festival Music). The DVD part was mostly filmed last year at the launch show for current studio album Spirit, while the CD was recorded a couple of years earlier, so there’s little crossover. The quality is unmistakable and the band seem to have found a new sense of purpose.
White Noise Sound are a Welsh psychedelic band, with overtones of shoegazing and krautrock. It all works rather well on their atmospheric, self-titled album (Alive). It settles you down, but never allows you to become too relaxed. A fascinating musical journey.
Back in the early 1970s Acqua Fragile were among the most interesting of all the Italian prog bands. As the reissue of their 1973 self-titled debut (Esoteric Recordings) proves they had distinct hints of Gentle Giant and Genesis, but had an individual flair. They also wrote English lyrics, which was highly unusual for Italian bands back then. Sadly, they never made it. But this album is still a reminder of their potential.
Alex Skolnick mostly makes his mark as a guitarist with Testament. But occasionally he enjoys escaping the metal world and indulging in a little jazz rock with the Alex Skolnick Trio. Veritas (Palmetto) is typical of what they do. This is enjoyable and accessible, with the virtuosity flowing naturally rather than being forced.
Finally, Greenslade have had their first four albums reissued by Edsel, and what a wonderful batch of albums. The self-titled 1972 debut, complete with Roger Dean’s iconic artwork, sees the band still finding their feet, but is interesting to hear again. A year later, Bedside Manners Are Extra really does see Dave Greenslade et al moving through the gears on perhaps their most complete album. Oddly, third album Spyglass Guest (1974) saw them ditch the Dean artwork for something a little more contemporary. It didn’t seem right, and some of the music is also a touch disjointed. And, in 1975 Time And Tide saw Greenslade back on track on all fronts. Only for them to split up shortly thereafter. It’s a quality collection of records that do a fine job representing one of the most undervalued bands of the era.