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Poor Genetic Material - Spring Tidings CD (album) cover

SPRING TIDINGS

Poor Genetic Material

 

Crossover Prog

3.91 | 16 ratings

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kenethlevine
Special Collaborator
Prog-Folk Team
4 stars The closer in the cycle by POOR GENETIC MATERIAL might be their best, but it is certainly their most vivacious, as befits the spring season. The band continues to seduce the listener into an elaborate set organically constituted from their brilliant compositions and arrangements, which combine agreeably distorted guitars, atmospheric keys, beseeching vocals, and an uncharacteristically muscular rhythm section. The sound now seems as far removed from neo prog as it is from avant garde; even the lyrics lack the self obsession that tend to dally hand in hand with neo.

Though all tracks are strong, here I have less difficulty in pronouncing my favourites, those being perhaps the best PGM songs up to that point - "April" and "Watercolors". "April" initially seems decent enough in an understated ELOY circa "Colours" kind of way, with Griffiths enunciating with aggression rarely heard hitherto, but it's catapulted by Glomb's searing and careening emotional lead guitar passages that recur as a chorus of sorts. In so doing they spellbind the entire piece, with even Jaehne participating via an entirely complementary synthesizer lead. This is a true A-list piece for any prog fan, again not directly comparable to anyone, although I admit to thinking of the less free form work by MYTHOS circa "Dreamlab" when I hear the diffuse soloing. "Watercolours" is almost on the same plane, but begins pastorally with flutes and caressing guitars as befits its title before evolving into another showcase for Griffiths' new found confidence. He launches into a memorable melody and divvies his quota between crunching and reflective moments that are flawless in transition. Glomb glows in the central instrumental role again, with spacey support capably provided by Jaehne.

For the rest, the variety and integration of styles remains the band's forte, while triggering a degree of performance anxiety in the mesmerized reviewer. It is better to just enjoy. I will say that the outro of the rather jazzy and accomplished closing instrumental seems to be channeling Celtic rockers RUNRIG, whom I know to be rather popular over there. No complaints over here.

I'm a bit torn on this one. It is certainly the musical equal of "Winter's Edge", and demonstrates marked growth since that time, yet it isn't quite as economical as that earlier disk, and in some sense the two stars steal the show by virtue of their afterglow alone. One gets the sense some notes, passages and even one or two tracks could have been omitted without harm, thus withholding some of that precious 5 star "je ne sais quoi". Still, the source of this spring is as fresh as ever. Do drink it in.

kenethlevine | 4/5 |

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