Seconds Before Landing II

Seconds Before Landing

SBLMusic, 2014

REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray


Unlike the debut, Seconds Before Landing’s sophomore outing is more focused on songs than hazy moods and less interested in virtuoso musicianship just because it’s fun. Like the debut, the songs are an appealing mix of electronic prog-rock heavily inspired by Pink Floyd and King Crimson as well as modern post-prog sounds.

Where The Great Deception was a concept album about a bleak future society, SBLII turns the lyrics far more personal, and that along with the fascinating musical mix makes it the superior album and one that should not live in prog obscurity. Fans are slowly finding out about John Crispino and his ensemble, which includes ex-Crimson bassist Trey Gunn on one song and producer Andy Jackson, who has worked with Floyd.

That mighty band’s influence is felt here, from the “Welcome To The Machine” and my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 The Wall-inspired “Etiene” to “Hey Dad,” a disturbing, blunt song about abuse and father/song relationships that could have come straight off The Wall in both sound and spirit (after the dull two-minute intro). “Hey Dad, were you thinking of me when you bought that strap? / Or was it simply on a whim / Hey Dad, was it pleasure you’d feel when you saw the welts / That you left on my skin?,” laments Crispino in an almost offhand manner, before the nearly-playful verse downshifts into a scary, strangled chorus.

Elsewhere, jazz and electronics combine on the very good “Big Train,” and when J.D. Garrison’s bass kicks in, you’re hooked. Jamie Peck’s saxophone intro and break provide a contrast to that thudding bass and the pulsating keys that propel the song, much like the titular train, until a too-soon fadeout. It’s a killer introduction and well worth seeking out. “Al Shaitan” has both a cool sound while paying respects to controversial sniper Chris Kyle (the subject of the Bradley Cooper movie American Sniper who was killed in 2013; the song title was his nickname, “The Devil,” given to him by his enemies.)

 “Just Breathe” and “What Chu Do” have a cool sound, with Crispino channeling his inner Perry Farrell on the latter. Less successful are “Silent Bird,” “Enoch” and “My Perfect Girl,” which trade dynamics for atmospherics and fall apart in the process. “Don’t Want To Feel This Way” is a strange beast, a plodding song that never really gets going except in spurts, framed and interspersed with a spoken-word recording from a young woman in the middle of a panic attack. It’s sort of harrowing, but the rest of the song is too distracting, and a bit annoying, which does an injustice to a concept that is musically worth exploring.

Like the debut, SBLII has a wealth of good ideas, and unlike the debut, they are better executed and more thought out. Seconds Before Landing has a ways to go before their blend of ideas and sound is fully integrated into a coherent, indispensable package, but this record is the next step in that evolution.

Rating: B-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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