Pattern-Seeking Animals - Prehensile Tales

Kev Rowland

Given that Ted Leonard (lead vocals, guitar) and Dave Meros (bass) are both members of Spock’s Beard, drummer Jimmy Keegan was in the band for a large number of years, keyboard player John Boegehold is a long-time collaborator of that band plus it was recorded by Rich Mouser at The Mouse House then we all know what this sounds like, right? Well, yes, and no. If you thought this was a new Spock’s Beard album in all but name then you’re wrong, but if you felt it was likely this was going to be a top notch progressive rock album from musicians who have long been at the top of their game, then you are right. When I saw Enchant support Spock’s Beard in London back in 2003, there was no doubt in my mind who was the top band of the night, and it wasn’t the Beard.: this from someone who in previous years had been telling anyone who would listen that Spock’s Beard were amazing, incredible, wonderful etc. etc. To me they lost their way after the departure of Neal, and it was when Ted joined the band that they regained their mojo. He has always been a great singer, and I clearly remember the impact ‘A Blueprint Of The World’ had on me more than 25 years ago. Keegan has always been a great drummer in whatever band he is playing with, it is no mean feat to take over from someone like D'Virgilio, especially when he was still in the band while Meros has always been a great bassist who seems to be able to turn his hand to anything. Then you have Boegehold, who may not be as well known as the others, but there was serious discussion about him joining Spock’s Beard before they found Ryo Okumoto.

With all these guys involved, plus of course the work by Mouser, there was never any doubt that this was going to be a very melodic progressive rock album with great songs and performances. Interestingly, it is probably the rhythm section which has the most out and out musicianship, with keyboards and guitar more for emphasis and allowing the vocals to have something to be pitched against. They have also added some additional instrumentation in violin, flute, trumpet, cello, sax and pedal steel, all of which add additional nuances and styles to the band. For playing gigs they are adding two multi-instrumentalists to the band to be able to do the music justice. This is their second album, and the second they have released since the Beard’s last release ‘Noise Floor’, so it will be interesting to see what the next Spock’s Beard album is like, as with this one they have been raising the bar. There may be only six songs, but it is still 55 minutes long, and anyone who is pining for Enchant and Spock’s Beard will find in this a great coming together of the bands and minds with music which I have even found myself whistling along to. I mean, what is that all about? This is prog isn’t it?

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