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Spock's Beard - Brief Nocturnes And Dreamless Sleep CD (album) cover

BRIEF NOCTURNES AND DREAMLESS SLEEP

Spock's Beard

 

Symphonic Prog

4.00 | 633 ratings

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Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer
3 stars There are a lot of nice things I can say about this release by Spock's Beard, but you can read about those in nearly every other reviewer's take on this album. For me, Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep is a modern prog diversion that doesn't fully live up to the hype, or the band's legacy.

In becoming more precise and thoughtful, the band has also shaved away one of the great things that made the Beard different from the other modern prog acts: the reckless energy and enthusiasm that borrowed inspiration from the great prog acts of yesteryear but transformed them into something fun and unique. This release sounds exactly like you would expect a modern prog act to sound... which I think I'm using as criticism. There are no surprises, experimentation, moments that touch your spirit, or much of anything else on this album that makes Spock's Beard stand out as a unique voice. Hard-rock homages to Gentle Giant don't count.

First let's just get the big question out of the way. How is the band's newly acquired third singer, Ted Leonard? Acceptable is about the best I can do. His voice is in a high register and flat throughout much of the album. He doesn't have much range, and doesn't emote in a way that connects with me. He's not bad, but upon first listen I immediately thought that this guy could be a singer for practically any prog act from the late '90's or early '00's - his voice is that bland and predictable. I'd take Neal Morse's caterwauling or Di''Virgilio smooth, radio-friendly vocals any day. Vocals are the low point of the album.

With that being said, the band sounds very good overall. Dave Meros' bass and Ryu Okomoto's keyboards standout especially. I think that Ryu's soloing and background textures makes him one of the sharpest keyboardists around. Unfortunately, Alan Morse's guitar slips under the radar for much of the album, as he delivers only one or two creative moments. The instrumental sections of songs are easily the most enjoyable part of the album; they are ambitiously complex and well-executed, but they aren't going to knock anyone's socks off.

Compare Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep to the dramatic energy of Snow, to the elevating energy of Day For Night, to the creativity found throughout The Light and Beware of Darkness and you'll see that fine playing and pandering to proggery isn't enough to make a great album. Still, don't write this one off completely; it's a fine example of modern prog even with its shortcomings.

Songwriting: 3 - Instrumental Performances: 3 - Lyrics/Vocals: 2 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 3

Prog Leviathan | 3/5 |

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