I am a big Oldfield fan and Ommadawn is my favorite of his. Gonna be fun to compare your review to mine once I get there in my 100 list.  ;)

"stressed" is just "desserts" spelled backwards

Album title: 2112
Artist: Rush
Nationality: Canadian
Sub-genre: Heavy Prog
Year: 1976
Position on list for that year: 6
Chronology: 4 of 19
Familiarity with artist: 5
Familiarity with album: 5
Gold Rated track(s): 2112, Tears
Silver Rated track(s): Something for Nothing, Lessons, A Passage to Bangkok
Wooden Rated track(s):
Comments: The concept album to end all concept albums? Rush's best album? There's evidence to support both arguments, but one thing is certain: though there had been concept albums before this, 2112 stood, and still stands to a large degree, as the most cohesive single-story concept in progressive rock, or perhaps any rock, and is certainly the first, or at least one of the very few, concept albums based around a science fiction theme. I mean, sure, Hawkwind were always going on about science fiction on their albums, but let's be honest: half the time it was hard to know what they were singing about, if they even knew themselves. 2112 was the brainchild of drummer and lyricist, the late, great Neil Peart, and concerns a society in which all forms of freedom are suppressed and banned, especially music. Against this backdrop, an ancient guitar is found, the "natural order" is threatened, and the album deals with really the struggle for free speech and free will, and ends with an attack on the Solar Federation, resulting in the freeing of all the worlds held under the power of the Priests of the Temples of Syrinx.

It's also possibly the first, maybe only, concept prog album to also have much heavier elements of rock in it. Look at others like The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway or Rick Wakeman's The Six Wives of Henry VIII, or even later material such as Spock's Beard's Octane: most if not all of these, while they may have heavier guitar passages and some shouted vocals, adhere to the concept (sorry) of progressive rock: long, convoluted keyboard passages, acoustic guitar, lengthy intros and outros, suites, with instruments like flute, cello, violin and harp used. Rush didn't do that. Their concept (again, sorry) of prog rock was far more on the heavier side, which for my money really pushes them closer to the idea of being progressive metal, though this is classified on PA as "heavy prog", which it certainly is.

This was Rush's last chance saloon. Their first three albums had bombed, and despite the fact that I love it to death, the previous outing, 1975's Caress of Steel had not sold well, and audiences were shrinking at their stage shows. Or maybe that was just the drugs. Anyway, less people were turning up and the band were losing popularity. The label was considering dropping them, but gave them one more chance. Expecting an album with better commercial material and hit singles, what they got was the opposite of that: a side-long composition that tells a story, much in the vein of "The Necromancer" and "The Fountain of Lamneth" from the previous album, and yet which rocketed them to the status of prog gods, ensuring their longevity and popularity right up to today and beyond, even though they have now broken up. Rush stuck to their guns, refused to be pushed into making a pop prog album to satisfy their paymasters, and were rewarded in spades, as was the label.

Like all good concept albums, this opens on a overture, which runs for nearly five minutes, a suitably spacey intro with feedback and wind sounds and effects before the first blasts of Alex Lifeson's guitar punch through, and the whole thing takes off at a gallop, leaving you in no doubt that this is rock with a capital R, and hell, even an M too, perhaps. What? For Metal, dummy. Do I have to explain everything? Now, now! No need to get violent. I'll just... be over here. After the introduction we hear the lilting tones of Geddy Lee singing "The meek shall inherit the earth", as we power into "The Temples of Syrinx", where Lee comes into his own as we meet the Priests, who control the worlds of the Solar Federation and are a totalitarian theocracy bent on retaining power. Geddy Lee's high screeching voice is perfectly suited to singing the claim of the Priests as they lord it over their subjects and shriek out their arrogance.

Softly tuned guitar leads in "Discovery", as the protagonist (I think they refer to him as the Man) discovers the ancient guitar and wonders what it is. Clever indeed here how Lifeson plays the instrument as if he is only learning to understand how it works, then we hear the more restrained side of Lee, before the Man brings the guitar to the Priests, who unsurprisingly put it down and scream and shriek at him, throwing him out of the temple after having the guitar destroyed. This song shows the first example of one of the populace standing up to the Priests, which no doubt angers and worries them. A population can only be held in thrall by fear if everyone is so held; once one person begins to fight back, you can end up with a revolution on your hands. The song veers between quiet acoustic and powerful, upfront hard rock, ending in a soaraway solo from Lifeson, which would make you think he's going to be the hero, but it's not the case. One man can't take on the system, and so he wanders off, in despair now that his wonderful new discovery has been dismissed and taken from him.

"Oracle: the Dream" is another hard rock track, showing the Man that others exist beyond his planet, where music is not only allowed but celebrated and played openly, but he knows he can never be part of this and so in "Soliloquy" he loses what little hope he had and kills himself. It begins as a reflective acoustic style ballad but quickly kicks up into a punchy rocker as Lifeson lets loose. The "Grand Finale" then has the worlds of the Solar Federation taken over by another, unnamed enemy, who will, presumably, bring better times. Peart has said these are "the good guys", though there's never any mention of who they are. It's assumed the Priests will be kicked out, the Temples of Syrinx knocked down, and the computers that run the planet probably used to create the internet or PornHub or something.

After the breath-taking epic, the second side of the album is more in the nature, I think, of the previous albums, with the drug anthem "A Passage to Bangkok" raising a mischievous eyebrow, a good rock track and great fun, while to be honest "The Twilight Zone" (written about the show) is the one track I always forget on the album. It's all right I guess but if I had to pick a worst track on a classic, almost faultless album like this, it would be it. There's more really I suppose of a sense of actual prog rock about this than there is about most of the others on side two, but it just doesn't do anything for me. The next two are the only ones on the album not written by Peart, with Lifeson penning "Lessons", not surprisingly very guitar-led but kind of restrained in its way, while "Tears" is a soft ballad on Mellotron written by Lee, which comes very close to being my favourite on the album, other than the title of course. The album ends then on a rip-roaring "Something for Nothing" which rocks along with real purpose and a sense of bitter accusation in Lee's voice, perhaps a finger to the record executives who thought they knew what the world wanted from Rush, when the Canadian power trio had better ideas.

Rush ran into some problems when they name-checked Ayn Rand, upon whose novella Anthem much of the title track is based. They faced accusations of being right-wing, of supporting Nazism, which was certainly a major offence to Lee, whose parents were holocaust survivors. Soon enough though, the music media found new amusement and left Rush alone, and now that the album is reckoned one of the all-time best progressive rock albums, there's not really anything anyone can say to damage that reputation. Nor should they.

Personal Rating: 10

QuotePersonal Rating: 10

side one mos def but side two is like a six tbh

2112 is the only Rush album I've listened to with some consistency the last 10 years or so.

It rocks. Love it! 🤘🤘⚡💀🗡🎸

Happiness is a warm manatee

Quote from: TheNonSexual OccultHawk on Feb 06, 2023, 11:05 PM
QuotePersonal Rating: 10

side one mos def but side two is like a six tbh

Yeah I would agree but hell, you can't give 2112 anything less than a ten, really. I thought about 9 but nah, I love it too much.

Album title: Ocean
Artist: Eloy
Nationality: German
Sub-genre: Psychedelic/Space Rock***
Year: 1977
Position on list for that year: 5
Chronology: 6 of 20
Familiarity with artist: 4
Familiarity with album: 1
Gold Rated track(s): None
Silver Rated track(s): None
Wooden Rated track(s): None
Comments: I've a strange relationship with Eloy. Goes back to my youth (yes yes shut up I was young once you know) when I used to hang around a record store called The Sound Cellar. You could go there and more or less listen to new music for the day, but in the end Tommy, who ran the place, usually tried to collar you to buy something. No such thing as a free lunch, this ain't a library etc. So when he asked me what I liked I told him progressive rock and he foisted Eloy's Performance on me. I had never heard of them, but he was good for new recommendations in a time before the internet, and I thought why not? So I bought it and brought it home, played it, was underwhelmed. I assumed Eloy were some new band, didn't know they've been going since the sixties. I took a chance on their follow-up, Metromania, and thoroughly disliked it, so that was Eloy for me.

Since then I've heard a few tracks on playlists, though only one full album, which I think I did for the history of prog journal - maybe Floating? Not sure - and it was meh, okay but nothing  great, as have been the tracks I've heard. So it's not like I don't like them, but I just don't think much of them. They've yet to write something, or at least I have to hear something I really like. That said, my own personal preferences don't necessarily matter here, as this is rated very highly on the list for 1977, but I'm just putting my own experience of the band in context. This is another very short album, with a mere four tracks, so I guess you could say it's the closest since Rush to a true prog rock album in terms of track lengths. Whether it will be a revelation, a borefest or another meh, I guess we'll see.

Sort of a Floydy opening with some good bass work and a kind of dramatic feel to "Poseidon's Creation", one of the longer tracks at just short of twelve minutes. Good boogie swinging guitar riff now and then the vocal comes in. You know, it's okay but the usual problem for me with Eloy, just doesn't hold my attention. A twelve-minute track is over and I can't even remember it when the second one begins. It's slower, with hollow percussion and lush synth with a low-key vocal, and it's called "Incarnation of the Logos", but they apparently don't last long because the next track is called "Decay of the Logos", and no, I don't know what a logo is (other than in the advertising sense, which I doubt is the case here) and no I don't care. Both these tracks run for just over eight minutes, which is at least mildly interesting, as you can say, or pretend, that these logos lived for as long as they died. Or something. Man I'm bored. You noticed, did you?

All right, let's try to concentrate here. There's a pretty bitchin' keyboard solo that kind of reminds me of Kraftwerk at their height, with a lovely pulsing bass line and I don't know, but it seems once the vocal comes in I lose interest. Maybe they'd be better - for me anyway - if Eloy were an instrumental band? Oh well, as Homer Simpson once noted, wishing won't make it so, and we work with what we have. But I can't get excited or even vaguely invested in the vocal or the lyric. I really don't care what it's about. I repeat though, the keyboard line is great. The sister track, as it were, "Decay of the Logos", I would expect to be a slower, more sombre affair. Is it? Well there's a dark bassy opening (though I think it's on guitar) and as you might imagine there would be, a sense of impending doom and an ominous feel about the piece, but then it breaks into a rocky sort of theme and I really no longer get that sense of something coming to an end. Maybe it's not meant to signify that. Again, I really don't care.

The final track is the longest, and the one with the weirdest title. "Atlantis' Agony at June 5th - 8498 13:15 Gregorian Earthtime" (told you it was weird, didn't I?) runs for fifteen and a half minutes, and starts out with a dark, spoken piece which possibly would be more comfortable on a power metal album, but it gets going then with a sort of ambient opening with wind and effects and all the usual stuff that you kind of expect on a track of this length. Oh, himself is back with some more speech. I expect this is a concept album, built perhaps around the legend of Atlantis or something, but I can't be bothered to look it up. I'm just that disinterested. It's a third of the way through now and I have to say not much has happened. It's not that I'm not listening: I am. But there just isn't too much to listen to. I suppose it's building up, but it's sure taking its time. The voice keeps talking over a kind of swirly synth but it's not doing much for me.

Some percussion coming in now and an actual vocal, but we're halfway through and I'm all the way through with this. It hasn't done anything to help me change my view of Eloy. I'm still bored stupid by them. Sorry. Bored intelligent then. The operative word is bored. And I am. Bored, that is. Very bored.

Personal Rating: 4

*** I don't agree with this classification though: Eloy to me, even if boring, are still symphonic prog.

I love Ocean and Eloy in general. I agree that the vocals aren't great. I just kind of tune them out half the time, the instrumental side of their music is great enough to counterbalance the less than stellar vocals.

"stressed" is just "desserts" spelled backwards

Quote from: Trollheart on Feb 06, 2023, 10:20 PM
Nice write up on 2112! I've loved this album forever.

This is what you want. This is what you get.

Quote from: Mrs. Waffles on Feb 07, 2023, 06:56 PMI love Ocean and Eloy in general. I agree that the vocals aren't great. I just kind of tune them out half the time, the instrumental side of their music is great enough to counterbalance the less than stellar vocals.

I don't think there's anything wrong with Eloy as such, it's just to me they're, well, they're there, and that's about it. I can point to two songs, both off Performance (which I originally mistakenly believed was a live album - well you would, wouldn't you?) I can remember or can hum: "In Disguise" and "A Broken Frame". Nothing else I've heard has left any impression on me. I admit the instrumentation, the musicianship is first class, but honestly, you'd expect that in a prog band. I just don't see how they stand out from any of the other prog acts out there.

Artist: SBB
Nationality: Polish
Sub-genre: Eclectic Prog
Year: 1978
Position on list for that year: 4
Chronology: 8 of 19
Familiarity with artist: 1
Familiarity with album: 1
Gold Rated track(s): Both tracks are gold
Silver Rated track(s):
Wooden Rated track(s):
Comments: Oh-oh. The genre tag "eclectic prog" often spells trouble for me. Sometimes it's just a catch-all to describe something that's maybe avant-garde, experimental or otherwise outside of the general prog spectrum, but has some prog credentials. Sometimes even avant-garde or experimental prog might be preferable, but here we are, and given that so many good prog bands have come out of Poland, maybe we'll be all right. There are only two tracks, so I can copy out the names, otherwise I don't think I'd be bothering, with all those odd accents and things. I don't know, but with two tracks at over 19 minutes each I'm going to assume this is instrumental? This is "Wołanie O Brzęk Szkła (Julia)" and has some really nice almost Gilmouresque guitar as well as what may be a sitar or something, very nice anyway, very relaxing. All right, so there are vocals. Seem almost ethereal, but again very nice.

Getting much rockier now with electric guitar and the future echoes of "Duke's Travels" in another of those surely weird coincidences I keep coming across. I mean, this melody is so like the Genesis track you would wonder if they stumbled over this album before they recorded it? But I expect it's just one of those things. Great music so far though and I have nothing negative to say at this point. And now there's a totally bitchin' harmonica solo worthy of the best of Supertramp against a rockin' boogie beat. This album just gets better. No wonder it's so high on the list for this year. Fantastic powerful keyboard run to end the track, and into the second one, which has a much shorter title, and opens on bouzouki with wind effects, quite stripped down as "Odejście (Anna)"  takes us on another nearly 20-minute odyssey of what I hope will be pure joy.

And it looks like it will be. After a slow, relaxed start we have a sort of pattering percussion and a whistling keyboard line with maybe feedback guitar and it's loping along now at a fine pace. Then it all slows down on a shimmery synth line with a crooned vocal, not yet any actual lyric but more vocalise, a soft acoustic guitar and chiming keyboard painting a magical backdrop before the singer comes in with the actual vocal. I suppose it's because they don't sing in English that these guys never seem to have broken out of their native Poland, and it's a real pity because this album, and this band, should be known worldwide. Mind you, prog fans obviously know where it's at, placing it near the top of 1978's list, where it certainly deserves to be. There's a duet now, kind of vocal harmony going on against the lush backing, sounds almost Vangelis at his most gentle and restrained. And now it's picking up again with a truly superb vocal into a kicking guitar piece, but wow is that not the main theme of "Echoes" being pretty liberally ripped off there? Oh hell, it's just such a superb album I can ignore that.

Personal Rating: 10 (would go higher if I could; it's that good!)

Album title: Spectral Mornings
Artist: Steve Hackett
Nationality: English
Sub-genre: Eclectic Prog
Year: 1979
Position on list for that year: 3
Chronology: 3 of 28 (so far)
Familiarity with artist: 4
Familiarity with album: 3
Gold Rated track(s): The Virgin and the Gypsy, Spectral Mornings
Silver Rated track(s): Everyday
Wooden Rated track(s): The Ballad of the Decomposing Man
Comments: You'd think, being a prog head, that Hackett would be a shoo-in for me, but not so. I remember buying this album, foolishly thinking it would basically be another Genesis one. Why I thought that, I suppose only the stupidity of youth can attest to. Had Peter Gabriel's solo albums been Genesis ones? Phil Collins'? Mike Rutherford? Hell, the only one who even came close was Tony Banks. So why did I think an artist of Steve Hackett's calibre and talent, having lost faith in the direction Genesis were heading and leaving them, would turn out an album like Trick of the Tail or Selling England? So I was, obviously, very disappointed in this album, and, bar its final and title track, have heard it only once. I am gratified to see it so high in the list for 1979, a vindication of the man's talents even beyond Genesis, but this will be the first time I've listened to it with let's say a more open mind.

It certainly starts off well, with a nice proggy intro and then the vocal from Steve himself, though he shares vocal duties here with Pete Hicks. "Everyday" is a bouncy, uptempo tune with a hopping arpeggio on the keys, and maybe not quite as much of Steve's guitar as I might like, but right now it sounds better than I believed it was. That might change, of course, as the album goes on. We'll see. Better is the twelve-string acoustic on "The Virgin and the Gypsy", where the vocals are taken over by Hicks. To be fair, there's not a huge difference between the two men, so it's not such a shock and really, you could believe it's Steve singing both. A more laid-back, softer song with a sort of sense of maybe CSNY or early Eagles in the harmonies, lovely flute from (his brother?) John adds a sort of ethereal effect to the music, then the next two are instrumentals, "The Red Flower of Tachai Blooms Everywhere" having a very oriental sound to it, again slow and relaxing, while "Clocks (The Angel of Mons)" gives a nod to/rips off Floyd with ticking clocks and a slightly ominous-sounding keyboard opening, then kicks up and flies along before slowing down again. I'm not completely on board with this one; seems a little all over the place to me.

Back to vox then for "The Ballad of the  Decomposing Man (Featuring "The Office Party")"  and it's Steve behind the mic again. This is one I always remember hating, so we'll see whether or not that still holds true forty years on, and some. Yeah it's a total ELO/Beatles thing with vocoder work and a silly twenties-style melody that still kind of annoys me, though I suppose not as much as it did when I first heard it. Still not a clue what the fuck it's about though. The overdone Cockney accent is pretty infuriating and the sort of Caribbean percussion or marimbas or whatever it is just doesn't sit well with the rest of the track, so yeah, I can see he was stretching himself beyond prog and classical here, and fair play to him, but for me it doesn't work at all. And yes, I still hate it. Luckily we're back to instrumentals, with a nice classical guitar and flute on "Lost Time in Cordoba", though I have to say I don't think a lot of it - it's there, it's over, I don't remember what it was like.

Hicks returns for his final vocal outing on the very Genesisesque "Tiger Moth", with lots of ambient effects and dark synth, but again it goes into this sort of old-time twenties style and it doesn't do anything for me. Luckily, we end on what I consider the best track, the title, which is a long instrumental in very much Genesis style, reminding me of "Afterglow" for some reason, and on which Hackett can really show what he can do on the frets. A great closer to, I would still have to say, a fairly average album. Apologies to all his fans but after nearly forty years  (I'm going to say it) I still can't Hackett. Sorry sorry.

Personal Rating: 7

Album title: Peter Gabriel/Melt
Artist: Peter Gabriel
Nationality: English
Sub-genre: Crossover Prog
Year: 1980
Position on list for that year: 2
Chronology: 3 of 10 (so far)
Familiarity with artist: 6
Familiarity with album: 4
Gold Rated track(s): Every single one is Gold
Silver Rated track(s): Nah
Wooden Rated track(s): You 'avin' a larf, mate?
Comments: I must admit, I'm surprised to see Gabriel's discography so small. I had convinced myself he had many more albums than that, and the number above includes those two orchestral ones. Wow. As far as his solo albums go, this is one of the very best, for me, with two pretty big hit singles, and shows kind of the last of the real eclecticism of his first three or four. After So became a massive worldwide hit and the single "Sledgehammer" a number one across the world, though he retained his own identity I feel Gabriel's music moved in a somewhat more poppish or at least commercial direction, with the experimentation evident on this and the previous albums largely absent. Not that you can predict what you will get on a Peter Gabriel album, but there aren't quite as many surprises and sudden left-turns as there are on 1978's Scratch or even his debut, Car.

So if Gabriel has two periods, as it were, they're marked by the fourth album, Security as the end of the "improvisational" ones, or the experimental or mixed-genre ones, largely, and the second period by So and continuing into Us and Up, as Gabriel became less "that guy from Genesis" and more "that guy who did Sledgehammer and who sang with Kate Bush." This album is full of future classics and two hits, with the powerful and claustrophobic "Intruder" kicking off proceedings, and to be honest I've seen him live and I don't think he's ever managed to capture the menace of this studio version. His versatile vocal range is very much in evidence here, as is his love of theatre. The first beginnings of what you might call tribal rhythms beginning to show themselves, and the whistle at the end is chilling as all hell. "No Self Control" is a great study of someone on the edge, similar in lyrical content to Iron Maiden's "Killers" and Pallas' "The Ripper", with some spooky xylophone and some weirdy jungle-type sounds in there too.

"Start" is perhaps the only Gabriel instrumental I know of; I really can't think of another. It's played mostly on bass and saxophone, and is pretty short, leading into "I Don't Remember", which continues the basic theme of a fracturing mind, madness and isolation that runs through this album. There's a lot of anger and frustration in the song, voiced first by Gabriel's unearthly howl that kicks it off, then it's a pretty mid-paced rocker with a real hook in, surprisingly enough, the bridge as well as the chorus. This could be seen as a follow-on from "No Self Control", as in that song, too, Gabriel was singing about not being able to remember things, and then we get the assassination of (perhaps) JFK recalled in "Family Snapshot", with the whole thing written from the view of the gunman. The opening and closing of the song is played on solo piano, giving it a lonely, haunting feel, but Gabriel is careful not to engender any sympathy for the assassin, even when he goes into his reasons for becoming the killer he is, right at the end, against almost single piano notes.

Gabriel goes full manic then for "And Through the Wire", aided by the fretwork of, of all people, Paul Weller. It's one of the rockiest tracks on the album and one of my favourites, with a great sort of ramp-up ending and takes us into the big breakaway hit, on which we hear his first real work with Kate Bush, who would of course later duet with him on "Don't Give Up". Here, though, she provides backing vocals only on "Games Without Frontiers", with its jerky, sort of kids' rhyme/game melody. Probably the first real impact our Peter made on the charts, and a song that made his name outside of Genesis and brought his music to a whole new audience. Things gets powerful and angry again then for "Not One of Us", which explores the idea of ostracisation, isolation and just being outside of the norm.

I always liked the simplicity of "Lead a Normal Life", the idea of someone sitting in an asylum watching the trees, but with the potential for horrifying violence, the soft, almost discordant piano notes which eventually descend into the mad chattering of jungle animals, drawing a musical image of how thin the line between sanity and insanity is. The closer is of course one of his most famous songs, the pain-wracked, furious, powerfully potent requiem for Steven Biko, which was the springboard for Gabriel's getting involved in human rights causes. It benefits immensely from a stirring African chorus both at the beginning and the end, with the ominous sound of a cell door slamming shut right at the end. Harrowing.

Personal Rating: 10

The only Peter Gabriel album I've listened through is So. I'll give Melt a try :) Sounds very interesting.

Thanks for a great write-up as usual 🙏

Happiness is a warm manatee

Quote from: Guybrush on Feb 16, 2023, 06:40 AMThe only Peter Gabriel album I've listened through is So. I'll give Melt a try :) Sounds very interesting.

Thanks for a great write-up as usual 🙏

he made a German version as well - i'm not sure if i like it better but at least just as much - this album is considerably better than So and So is an excellent record

Album title: Moving Pictures
Artist: Rush
Nationality: Canadian
Sub-genre: Heavy Prog
Year: 1981
Position on list for that year: 1
Chronology: 8 of 19
Familiarity with artist: 5
Familiarity with album: 2
Gold Rated track(s):Tom Sawyer
Silver Rated track(s): Red Barchetta. YYZ, The Camera Eye
Wooden Rated track(s): None
Comments: One of the Rush albums I have not heard, in fact just about everything after maybe Hemispheres or Permanent Waves is unknown to me. We've arrived at the top of the chart for 1981, so this must be a highly respected album. I see I have in fact heard almost all of side one through the live album Exit... Stage Left, so we have "Tom Sawyer", which became one of their biggest mainstream hits, sort of punches its way out of the album right out of the gate and sets the scene. Having heard the premise behind "Red Barchetta", though it's a fine song, I have to wonder about Neil Peart being just the tiniest bit lazy. He said it himself - I'm not projecting here - the song is about a time when cars are illegal and this guy finds a "Red Barchetta" and drives it. Sound familiar? Replace cars with guitars/music and what do you have? Good song though. Then we get the - well I can't say only, as I'm not sufficiently versed, as I said, in all the Rush albums, but the only one I've heard - instrumental in "YYZ", which became something of a signature piece for them.

After that it's all new to me. "Limelight" is a decent rocker, though I have to say I hear a little too much of the motif from "Don't Fear the Reaper" in there, and it doesn't really speak to me as a song itself, while just in case we forgot this is supposed to be a prog album, "The Camera Eye" runs for ten minutes and is split into two almost exactly equal parts, the first, "AKA New York" is mostly taken up by a sprightly instrumental section, and is an uptempo rocker, while "AKA London" ... well, to be honest it seems to just flow organically from the other part and I really can't tell the two apart on first listen. A good song altogether though, and it leaves us with two tracks which, again, are identical in length. I wonder was that planned? "Witch Hunt" comes in on a sort of atmospheric, eerie fade and then grinds along menacingly, while "Vital Signs" shows the band dabbling again in reggae, as they did on the previous album's "New World Man". I honestly can't say I think much of it, and despite its reputation I'm not overly impressed with this album really at all.

Personal Rating: 7