Pattern-Seeking Animals - Spooky Action At A Distance

Kev Rowland

I am glad to see that Spock’s Beard have various tours lined up as it would not take much for fans to assume that band no longer exists, given they have not released an album since 2018 (the return to form ‘Noise Floor’), but the band formed out of it have now released their fourth since then. Both Ted Leonard (lead vocals, guitar) and Dave Meros (bass) are still in the line-up of Spock's Beard, drummer Jimmy Keegan was in the band for a large number of years, while keyboard player John Boegehold is a long-time collaborator (and nearly joined them prior to Ryo Okomuto). I have been a fan of Ted’s since the debut Enchant album a million years ago, and he never disappoints (so pleased I managed to catch that band in concert), Jimmy Keegan has always been an exciting player who adds to every band or project he is involved with, Dave Meros is one of the most exciting and constructive bassists around (listen to any of his live work in particular to see just what he brings), while John Boegehold is an under-rated keyboard player and composer who has finally made it into the spotlight he so richly deserves.

P-SA have shown with their previous works that they are not an SB clone, and in fairness the current SB is very different indeed to the band which set the prog scene alight nearly 30 years ago. Here they continue that development, showing they have their own identity as they continue to follow a style of prog which is both commercial and mixed with American melodic rock and even some pop elements which make them truly crossover. In Keegan and Meros they have a superb rhythm section, and against this the keyboards and guitars work well to create the backdrop for Ted. Remember, he is a singer first and foremost and a guitarist second, with Alan Morse very much taking the lead role in Spock’s Beard and Douglas Ott in Enchant, yet he combines well with John, showing he is more adept in that area than many would give him credit for. However, it is not his main area, which means the songs are very constructed and arranged so the feeling is that the music is always there to support the vocals and create the atmosphere and feeling.

The result is a wonderfully polished and enthralling album which can be enjoyed the first time it is played, and while there is not too much depth it is also a grower and one which can be played repeatedly. Given the success of P-SA it is going to be interesting to see if we do get another album from Spock’s Beard, and if so, just what is it going to sound like? P-SA are very much creating their own path, moving far away from their roots, emotional and sitting happily in the prog mainstream.

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