It sounds ridiculous. No, just you here. Also, the way the craziness moves into the apology is also musically absurd, but might have a stake in being conceptually correct, since an apology can happen so soon after a terrible fight. What comes after is more like a song from Alabama. The pieces are stop-start, and don't really flow together like good progressive rock should.
What's most unfortunate is that the seemingly strongest jab into the belly of progressive rock is just a collection of unrelated pieces that range from vulgar and insipid to just insipid. The piano section doesn't really flow into the next section well at all. The last part is enjoyable, but seems to bear no relation on anything that came before it.
Soon an electric guitar comes in, as do Morse's vocals, crazy guitar work, and innovative bass playing from Meros. Morse's voice goes from one speaker to the other, then to the middle. Overall, the music isn't bad- it's a step ahead over the previous track, but is lackluster really, save for some great bass.
The keyboard solo is top notch, as it runs right into the guitar solo. Better progressive rock songs have been heard. It sounds to me that Spock's Beard had a ton of ambition going into making this record. Spock's Beard sound relatively inexperienced here. And as the fans get their tomatoes ready, let me explain what I mean; if we use the big epic ''The Water'' as an example, it suffers from several pitfalls.
While it looks like a multipart epic, I see it as nothing more than seven different ideas that have nothing to do with each other smooshed together by an obscure lyrical theme that I'll never be able to grasp.
It jumps from marching piano to a Yes-like thing to boring padding to screaming rock to acoustic rock to subpar jazz fusion to ''The Great Gig in the Sky'' in its 23 minutes. Having a broad range of influences is fine, but I don't like eighty-one different styles all played in cliche mannerisms. The pieces as a whole can get small lift-off from something I like, but get grounded by something that sounds ''out of place''. The title track jumps too many styles way too quickly and come and go in a manner which leaves me confused.
I find ''Go the Way You Go'' avoids the previous pitfalls I've already describe, but I find the ending to be so expected that I hate it, not to mention the whole piece sounds like Kansas on a creative dry spell with tinges of live Rush. This version of Spock's Beard doesn't work for me as the epics do nothing more than leave question marks over my head.
Although the sound-quality of The Light leaves much to be desired of it can be overcome as long as there are enough interesting compositions to to balance things out. It really starts off on a promising note with the wonderful album-titled track. I really love this performance from the begining to the very end and can listen to it non-stop. The whole performance of this piece feels so well balanced and there is just no weak spots to even talk about.
This is unfortunately the only great instance that this album offers its audience since the rest of the release doesn't even come close to the first excellent 15 minutes. Go The Way You Go and On The Edge feel like chewing gum and once the tracks end you basically spit them out and forget they even existed. This is something that unluckily can't be said about the 23 minute multi-suite simply titled The Water.
This composition is probably one of the worst long composition that I've ever heard. It's long, boring and extremely pretentious. I seriously can't think of one good thing to say about it and instead just have to ask Neal Morse how he managed to go for the excellent album title-track to this monstrous disaster.
Luckily the band's sound would improve over the next few releases until the band would finally perfect and master the long track format on their fifth album simply titled V. The Light will remain a novelty record for the fans of Spock's Beard and Neal Morse who are interested in hearing how much the two have actually developed over the years. At least that was the ideal. Why, Dave Meros's Squire-inspired bass playing alone would have had me in ecstasy.
As it turned out, I actually bought my first Spock's Beard album early in the new millennium, and its name was "V". The title track is a revelation, it's true, but after that, whenever I play this album, I soon get fed up with Neal Morse's hectoring moods, whether he's dishing up existential doubt or cursing the universe in his best Lennonesque voice, his Springsteenian voice or whatever To make things worse, the inner sleeve picture of him lying naked in his bathtub totally grosses me out.
One of the main problems with the early Beard was that Morse never had anything remarkable to say. Nor did he devise interesting ways of saying it. Back in the 70's and 60's, a debut album generally meant a bunch of pretty amateurs not knowing what direction to go thus either experimenting a lot or playing plain simple music, though it was only a matter of time until these amateurs would get proficient and write quality music.
In the 90's however this changed for the Progressive Rock scene with bands like The Flower Kings, Anglagard, Echolyn and Anektoden, to name but a few, right from the beginning they sounded like proffessional Prog bands with clearly top-notch musicians and knowing well how to compose. Well, Spock's Beard is no exception with their debut entitled The Light.
Already with their debut Spock's Beard shows us their well-known style of Prog which is a mix of straight- forward 70's esque Symphonic Prog plus some ocassional jazzy or agressive or even light-hearted bits. However, unlike the band's and Neal's later known classics, this fortunately doesn't have the samey epic song-writing from Neal Morse which at first sounds incredible but after listening to it in another 5 epic suites makes you wanna seek for copyright infringements in Neal's own catalogue!
Anyways back to The Light. Obviously it's not flawless, that's pretty hard to find in a debut, but still the writing and musicianship sounds very professional and mature, specially on the title track and Go the Way You Go; both are one of Spock's Beard finest compositions, repleted with mellotron, piano, synths and organ played solely by Neal as well as full-filled with catchy melodies with Neal's up-lifting attitude.
Also the various twists and turns ala classic Symphonic Prog are to be expected. Finally the last track, On the Edge is a very concise ''short'' Symphonic Prog song which is by no means filler: it makes up a very up-lifting ending to this splendid album. Like a stated in the introductory paragraph, these debuts from these relatively ''new'' Prog bands are really incredible from almost any point of view, and The Light to me, besides being one of Spock's Beard finest, is probably one of the best debuts from that bunch.
The album begins with the self titled song, a track that is an example of what I call light Prog, because despite pomp and brilliance of some sections it seems too derivative and mainstream oriented. Yes, the performance is good, but the music says nothing to me, specially the annoying vocals "Go the Way on You" starts promising, with elaborate and contradictory passages, the soft melodic sound of the previous track are dissonant and interesting, with Dave Mero's playing a killed bass, but as soon as Morse enters, the song looses all this achievements to turn into some sort of dull Neo Prog Not that Neo Prog is dull, there's a lot of exiting music in this genre, but there's also dull Neo as in this case , with Alan Morse trying without success to demonstrate his skills in the guitar and Neal playing a decent but average keyboard.
If everything was boring and unimpressive up to this point, with "On the Edge" things got even worst, the vocals are specially annoying and the music turns from average to simply bad, hardly heard a song so bad from a band so well considerate by Progheads.
The album ends at last with "The Light Home Demo " and as I imagined, even less impressive than the final version except for the good acoustic guitar section.
Still haven't decided what to do with the album, probably the people from the Parish won't be able to get money for it, so if some friend wants to buy it from me, I'll sell it without remorse and give the money for charity. Even when "The Light" is in my opinion one of the worst albums I ever heard, will go with 2 stars instead of 1, being that most of the band members are good musicians, and this is worth at least an extra star.
With debut albums, it seems to always be a hit or miss success. Sadly, many of the great bands in prog history have sadly mediocre debut albums. Whether it is poor compositions, amateur instrumentation, or the real killer, poor production quality, too many debuts go down in history as rather poor.
Occasionally, however, some bands are able to present a fantastic introduction to their music. Spock's Beard, one of the early bands in the modern symphonic movement, can easily lay claim to this honor. The Light contains four tracks five in the re-issue of pure prog greatness, with countless dynamics and quickly shifting parts and movements of the two lengthy epics.
Even early on, Spock's Beard is able to display their fantastic sound, their promising potential, and their obvious destiny of going down as one of the modern greats.
The song quickly shifts into "One Man," a rocking symphonic prog masterpiece, with some fantastic harmonies between each of the instruments and some extremely memorable lines of vocal melody, lyrics, and instrumental grace. The eerie "Garden People" comes next, with some mellow melodic passages transitioning in and out of rocking sections, making for another fantastic movement of this track. The instrumental section of this part is really the best feature of the whole song, with some sublime pieces of music given by these guys.
The song closes with "The Return of the Horrible Catfish Man" and a reprise of "The Dream," which ties up this stupendous track fantastically. Overall, this debut track of this debut album is spectacular. It really shows the whole sound of Spock's Beard in one song, making it a beautiful addition to this album.
Go The Way You Go continues the theme of great dynamic symphonic prog music, with some really cool riffing and harmonies between the parts even in the heavy intro. The song takes no trouble in swiftly transitioning into a jovial melodic piece, before then again transitioning into a heavy distorted amalgam of incredible prog rock.
Once the vocal melodies start, you can see how obviously diverse this music truly is. The song shows its true self as an overall rather happy song, with some really pleasant vocals and sincere instrumentation. The track, although not as movement-centric as The Light still contains numerous themes to contend with, as well as some really fantastic moments.
Overall, the track contributes another tasty 12 minutes to this album, and continues to show the band's amazing compositional prowess. The Water is the massive minuter of the album. Opening with some really great contrast between Morse's mellow piano work and More's crunching guitar riffs, it soon transitions into a swiftly rocking symphonic prog masterpiece. Again split into multiple movements, the song contains countless theme changes and incredible progressive dynamics and transitions.
It is filled with some of the better Beard moments, although moments on V and other albums still trump it, it is certainly quite the achievement to have so many memorable moments even on the debut album. In the end, the track is spectacular, and an obvious necessity in any Beard collection. After the three spectacular tracks preceding this track, On the Edge seems almost arbitrary to be included.
A scant six minutes in comparison to the rest of the album, the band is still to shove another 6 minutes of incredible music into this album. A suitable closer for the album, the lyrics could easily symbolize the risks the band took in producing a debut prog album all by themselves with no help by a label in an attempt to succeed in a music business that seemed to be dying?
Musically, the song contains some really fantastic moments, riffs, and other tidbits, making a fourth incredible track on this album? There still remain the very minor flaws of amateur production, some slightly cheesy synth voices, and other extremely minor defects to this album, but overall this album is damn good.
The four compositions are incredible, showing the band's new twist on the symphonic sound and their ambitious foray into the world of progressive music. Spock's Beard is now a well-established powerhouse in the world of prog, and this album no doubt helped this status album.
The album begins softly, sounding much like an early Genesis album. The band soon joins in fully, and the album proves to be a roller coaster ride of different prog styles. The Beard pays homage to some of the classic great bands, especially Genesis and Yes, but there are some Pink Floyd references as well.
Most of the time this group demonstrates it's own original style as well. Morse's vocals, often falling somewhere between John Lennon and Tom Petty, is usually the weakest point on a Spock's Beard album, but here he sings so forcefully that he rarely pulls the music down. The best songs are the two epics, The Light and The Water. On these, Morse and company seamlessly blend different styles of music into some great prog classics. The musicianship by all four members Ryo Okumoto had not joined the group at this point is superb, and keeps these pieces exciting from start to finish.
The other two pieces are more Genesis styled than anything else, although Go The Way You Go veers away from this at times.
A fine start for a modern giant of prog. The newly-formed Spock's Beard was one of the ensembles driving that bandwagon, and recycling was very much their MO: not creating a new musical vocabulary, but reviving an older language gone dormant. In other words, Prog but not Progressive, and I write that with all due respect and affection. There weren't many bands at the time so willing to embrace the musical and lyrical pretensions of the symphonic rock s.
And even fewer able to do so with such energy, ambition, and ostentatious old-school musical chops. But here it was: a glutton's feast for starving Progheads, right down to the enigmatic, amateur cover art. Neal Morse always had a knack for writing catchy, uncomplicated musical hooks, although the infamous "FU" section of "The Water" took me completely by surprise. Was this really the same, soon-to-be bible-toting ambassador of Bronze-Age superstition, dropping more F-bombs per minute than Johnny Rotten?
Individually each part shows a lot of promise, but in total it follows a tendency that would dog Morse throughout his prolific career: stringing unconnected ideas together into a single Frankenstein opus. When the track finally segues into the afterthought of "On the Edge" the only cut off the album shorter than twelve minutes, by the way it's easy to mistake the new song for just another sub-section of the earlier saga.
Spock's Beard would almost immediately fall into a counter-clockwise rut. But their debut shouldn't be criticized just because subsequent albums didn't vary the formula much. At the time, they were a fresh, invigorating new voice in a not very crowded retro-prog choir, knocking the conventional wisdom of the early '90s on its myopic, grunge-based head. This debut album hasn't been my first approach to the band's music so I can't avoid making comparisons with their further releases.
Effectively, listening to the album my first impression is of a little pretentious band. Neal Morse hasn't found yet his characteristic singing style, but the embryo of what the band will becomne up to his leaving is already present. Probably, if I had discovered them when the album was released I could have thought to a neo-prog masterpiece: a 23 minutes long song, two other above 10 minutes and just one below.
I don't consider the bonus track. As somebody else has written, the long tracks are patchworks of shorter songs which apparently don't have the structure of the typical prog epic.
Probably this wasn't effectively in the band's intentions. The various parts in which "The Light" and "The Water" are divided are born as songs tied together.
Let's say that the transitions are very well "engineered" so that they flow seamlessly as a single suite. Not a bad album at all, very promising from a band made of very good talents other than Morse's quite huge discography check also Ryo Okumoto's solo albums. Still immature under certain aspects, but it's a debut. It's good enough to be not only for Spock's Beard's completionists and fans. Good and non-essential, can of course be of interest for who already knows the band.
My favorite part is "Reach Of The Sky", the last section of The Waters, that's also the most "Neal Morse's standard" Not an album to die for but nothing to be ashamed of. I still find it odd to this day that this was a record released in The opening track shows little evidence of its age. Perhaps the studio quality could've been a lot finer. Neal's voice at the mark feels a bit muddled. Then again, I'm sure that was the point, but I still feel the quality could've been improved.
A lot of synth stylings here also definitely hint at a bit of an 80's sound. That's not necessarily a bad thing, merely an observation.
Still, despite the obvious age of this 15 minute goliath, it's still a very enjoyable track. The melodies laid down by Alan are absolutely unique unto themselves.
The way this outfit just picks up and moves into a different direction instantly is baffling to me. If you weren't paying attention half the time, you'd figure you were listening to about 5 different songs, when in reality, the song never changed. Honestly, the song goes through so many changes, it's nigh impossible to state them all. In short, this may be the first song of Spock's first album, but it's a doozy, and one of my absolute favorites. Even in the intro, the song snakes back and forth between chaotic chords and playful little melodies.
Right from the get-go, though, the quality sounds much better here. Right up to the moment where the entire band cuts out to go to Neal and the guitar melody.
It feels a bit, I don't know, cut-and-pasted together. That said, the chorus is catchy and enjoyable. It's not a bad song, but the main reason why it's not one of my favorites is because Neal seemed to take a lot of liberties with the vocal line, and as such, the transitions seem to be abrupt and not totally smooth, same with the rest of the band. It doesn't feel as smooth connected as "The Light". The licks just don't flow smoothly into the next phrase, the key signatures just don't match up half the time.
And, I'm sorry, I'm all for the crowd noises. But that sample just sounded way too cheesy. Still, the jams in the middle were nice. And that's always nice. Still, in terms of length, neither of these two tracks can stand up to the minute length that is "The Water". Again, from the intro, I hear no real quality issues. You'd never be able to tell how old it was if you didn't know when it was released. Until the 2 minute mark. The bell chords are decidedly 80's-ish.
Still, Neal's harsh tone of voice pulls it back into , while the guitar licks sound eerily 70's Pink Floyd-ish a mash of generational sounds here. Even the female chorus sounds like it came straight out of Pink Floyd's repertoire.
Not like that's a problem though. This is, quite simply, an epic track. It's one of those you just can't listen to everyday. You have to make an occasion for it, put some time off to just encompass those 23 minutes. The songwriting is epic, you can just tell these guys worked their tails off to put this piece together.
The whole song, really, is just expertly put together, a memorable song and one of the prog greats. The shortest track at ONLY 6 minutes , it's not a really great intro. There's a sense that it was quickly cobbled together to form a quick B-side track, if you will. This song definitely feels its age here.
Yes, the chorus is catchy, but it definitely feels like a dated track today, and as such, it's just a bit cheesy.
No fault of the Morse brothers and the rest of Spock, though. This was the sound of 90's prog, as the new age of prog was still in its infancy. They just feel better, like all those melodies and phrases were just made to be together, like puzzle pieces, and as such, you should buy this album for those two alone.
Granted, the two best tracks are also the two longest ones, but that's not to say the other two are bad. They're just not in the same sentence as the former two. And, of course, throughout the record there are a few reminders that this was an album made in the 90's, where hints of the wretched 80's-pop war machine are still present. All aside, though, this is a must for any Spock fan, and a great album for anyone looking for past classics of melodic prog.
I can imagine in this must have made quite an impression. Very much in the vein of The Flower Kings, this album and band sounded yet another trumpet that it was safe for prog to go back in the water. Though there are obvious differences between "The Light" and "V", it's very apparent that this is the same band, except that they added Ryo Okamoto on keyboards shortly after this album was released.
Though this album doesn't include vocal counterpoint and harmony tracks like "Thoughts Part II " or "Afterthoughts", the music and songwriting is still very much Spock's Beard and it's quite clear that this band knew where they were going right from the beginning. There is a certain rawness to the guitar sound in particular that was cleaned up later.
My image of the music on this album is that of a pair of sneakers that are a little worn and tattered while by "V" they have new shoes which are not only snazzy-looking but a little more expensive too. Some of the song part stitching sounds a little inexperienced once or twice. There are a number of enjoyable parts throughout, but nothing can top the title track as a well-written and performed song.
I like the longer track "Water" mostly but the final song from the original album, "On the Edge", slips past my attention namely because I'm not keen on it. It's a fine piece of work for the most part. The vocals are treated a bit roughly in the mix, though I believe this is intended, and not everything is genius, but certainly a worthy album of having in my collection.
Also, it has inspired me to consider looking into Spock's Beard more in the coming year. It seems some reviewers have a pretty low opinion of this album. I guess that's partly because the band gets better later. Almost four stars but not quite. Second-Best of the Morse Era. It is easy to see why SB's debut was so popular. Very tight, interesting complex arrangements, virt There is a lot of energy here - almost too much. Yes No. Go the Way You Go. On the Edge. The Light. The Light Home Demo.
More Albums. The Water. Dreaming In the Age of Answers. Wind at My Back Remastered. Thoughts Part II Lyrics.
Walking On The Wind Lyrics. Urban Noise Lyrics. Surfing Down The Avalanche Lyrics. There Was A Time Lyrics. She Is Everything Lyrics.
Climbing Up That Hill Lyrics. Letting Go Lyrics. NWC Lyrics. The Planet's Hum Lyrics. Watching The Tide Lyrics. In the Mouth of Madness Lyrics. Cakewalk on Easy Street Lyrics. Skeletons At The Feast 4. All That's Left 5. With Your Kiss 6. Sometimes They Stay 7. Slow Crash Landing Man 8. Hearts Of All Men 9. The Ballet Of The Impact 2. I Would't Let It Go 3. Surfing Down The Avalanche 4. She Is Everything 5. Climbing Up The Hill 6.
Letting Go 7. NWC 9. There Was A Time The Planet's Hum Watching The Tide Onomatopoeia 2. The Bottom Line 3. Feel Euphoria 4. Shining Star 5. Ghosts Of Autumn 7. Stranger In A Strange Land
I am rock 'n roll Runnin The Race - Spocks Beard - The Light am classical, country and soul I am the nun and the flasher I am the father, the son, and the bastard I am the church and the steeple Open the door and see all the people. Although for everyone else this is as recommended as any album can be! Few bands managed to do this in the 90s which is why Spock's Beard became one of the best selling prog acts at that time. Let's say that the transitions are very well "engineered" so that they flow seamlessly as a single suite. The Light Feel So Good - Various - Psychotic Reactions of four songs. A lot of synth stylings here also definitely hint at a bit of an 80's sound. Go The Way You Go and On The Edge feel like chewing gum and once the tracks end you basically spit them out and forget they even existed. Still, Nothing To Lose - Kylie Minogue - Enjoy Yourself messy debut shows promise.
Aint Nobody Business - Snowfields - Hillbilly 591, Digging The Grave - Faith No More - King For A Day Fool For A Lifetime, Time Will Tell - Nick Simpers Fandango - Slipstreaming / Future Times, Da Qui - aal - In Luce, Tropical Soundclash - Simon Dunmore - Defected In The House - Eivissa 04