Day From Night

Spock's Beard

Metal Blade, 1999

REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert


We here at "The Daily Vault" pride ourselves on providing musical guidance for you, the listening public. But you know what? We can learn from the Internet too.

So after a slew of recommendations on the Alan Parsons mailing list, I was in a local GargantuaRecordMart the other day with some winter holiday money and finally picked up Day From Night, the latest CD by LA-based progressive rock band Spock's Beard.

My only question is, why in the hell did I wait so long?

Spock's Beard has the recommendations and the reputation, certainly. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Frontiers Magazine named their Beware Of Darkness CD "Progressive Album Of The Decade", and members have played with Eric Clapton, Phil Collins, Tears For Fears, and Genesis. But let's face it - progressive rock and its leather-clad brother progressive metal is one-quarter brilliant and three-quarters crap. For every Alan Parsons or Dream Theater, there's plenty of self-indulgent performers who think that obscure lyrics and a Hammond organ will make them the next Pink Floyd.

Spock's Beard, however, avoids the pitfalls inherent in the genre, and do it with a vengeance. This is great, great stuff, with punch and power and…dare I say it?…promise.

The CD kicks off with "Day From Night", a long, keyboard and bass-laden track reminiscent of Kansas in their Leftoverture period. The track grew on me after several listenings, as did track two, "Gibberish". Then…

Then we hit "Skin". "Skin" is my pick for best song I've heard on a 1999 CD release. The hook is irresistable, the guitar and keyboards energetic and complex, and Neal Morse's vocals are strong enough to carry the song to its bright and triumphant conclusion. Follow this with "The Distance To The Sun", an acoustic ballad with brilliant harmonies, and you have a reviewer staring at the wall in stunned appreciation. In all honesty, I don't recall responding to a first exposure to a band this strongly since the first time I heard October Project or Great Big Sea.

The rest of the CD is excellent, especially the modern-rock-tinged "The Gypsy", "Crack The Big Sky", and the softer "Lay It Down". Spock's Beard gets special notice for avoiding the muddy fussiness of most progressive rock; their sound is clear and clean with magnificent production, and their harmonies are well-defined, reminiscent of the aforementioned Parsons or Todd Rundgren's work with Utopia.

Progressive rock, power pop, or modern rock, Spock's Beard fits the bill in spades. Day For Night is a magnificent piece of work. Cash that check from your Aunt Hettie and get it .

Rating: A

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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