Odds & Ends: March 7, 2022

Artist: Stewart Clark | Album:Journeys | Genre: Progressive rock | Bandcamp

Stewart Clark draws noticeably from the classic prog giants, most obviously Yes and Genesis. The music is rich and grand, and though the playing is hardly flashy, the songs are creatively and thoughtfully structured. The folk elements are especially nice. Some cuts do drag on a bit, but this is an overall enjoyable release.

Score: 77/100

Band: Cyril | Album: Amenti’s Coin – Secret Place Pt. II | Genre: Progressive rock | Bandcamp

If you’re looking for some well-made progressive rock in the vein of acts like Transatlantic or The Flower Kings, these guys aren’t a bad choice. It’s highly melodic with a lot of strong instrumental performances. The band does occasionally veer into overwrought balladry, and I can’t say there’s anything particularly novel being said here. Despite that, sometimes you just want some lush, classic-style prog.

Score: 71/100

Artist: Paul Draper | Album: Cult Leader Tactics | Genre: Progressive rock, Progressive pop | Bandcamp

Paul Draper draws from post-punk and art rock on Cult Leader Tactics to make an engaging, intelligent record. Steven Wilson’s influence is obvious, and he even appears as a guest vocalist on one song. This album’s best parts feel like a prog-rock rendition of Violator-era Depeche Mode. Draper’s vocal performance is strong throughout, and he proves he has a knack for texture by knowing when to deploy guitar or keys as the lead instrument.

Score: 83/100

Band: Echoes from Jupiter | Album: Le Grand Tour | Genre: Post-rock, Space rock | Bandcamp

The latest release from this Qubuecois quartet is a cosmic instrumental record. It takes its time with broad, impressionistic riffs, soaring guitar leads, and powerful drumming which helps to maintain some contact with Earth. There’s a satisfying ebb and flow to Le Grand Tour. None of the tracks feel extraneous, and even the brief interludes are enjoyable on their own terms.

Score: 78/100

Band: Garcia Peoples | Album: Dodging Dues | Genre: Progressive rock, Psychedelic rock | Bandcamp

Dodging Dues is Garcia Peoples’ shortest album to date, clocking in at only about 34 minutes. Blues, folk, and psych mingle freely, and the album has a great flow to it. The songs are all distinct, but the transitions from one to the next are all smooth. This is less proggy than Nightcap at Wits’ End or One Step Behind, but there are still clever compositional techniques at play. The eight-minute “Here We Are” blends some country flavors into its sprawling structure.

Score: 80/100

Band: That Which Sleeps | Album: That Which Sleeps | Genre: Progressive metal, Math rock | Bandcamp

This Virginian trio plays a variety of heavy prog that’s full of jagged riffs, gyroscopic rhythms, and a never-ending torrent of fresh ideas. The musical themes come thick and fast, but the band’s limited sound palette maintains a sense of continuity. The opening suite is the obvious high point on this EP, but the other two songs are strong entries, as well.

Score: 82/100

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