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Spock's Beard - The Kindness Of Strangers CD (album) cover

THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS

Spock's Beard

 

Symphonic Prog

3.75 | 453 ratings

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Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer
3 stars The Kindness of Strangers always seemed like the forgotten Spock's Beard album for me. It doesn't have the novelty of The Light, the scope of Snow, or the ups and downs of their contemporary releases; however, Kindness of Strangers is noteworthy simply for being a rock-solid release that features the band's terrific early symphonic, enthusiastic, and poignant sound.

For fans exploring Spock's Beard's back catalog, this album is similar to the (slightly better) Day for Night. The band plays very well, with a lot of gusto and thoughtfulness. In a way, this early SB sound sort of created a template for Prog bands of this '90's era, so while the songwriting is sort of by the numbers as far as this genre goes, it's hard to find any faults in it beyond the occasional missed opportunity. Basically, this is artistic hard rock, with mellotrons and odd time signatures. Meros' bass is strong and energetic; Ryu and Morse's keyboards are rich and varied; D'Virgilio's drums are highly proficient; and Morse's guitar has a lot of personality. However, there aren't any real stand-up and shout instrumental moments, with the grand finale guitar solos striking me as not being quite as good as we've heard from Morse in other works. In the end, the sum here is definitely more than any one player's part.

The famous (or infamous?) Neal Morse sings his heart out as always, with lyrics that are slightly more trite than usual. Sometimes tongue in cheek, sometimes memorable, and sometimes groan-inducing, lyrics may be a turn-off for some, as he belts out alongside bouncy rhythms and jaunty songs that give Kindness of Strangers a very approachable feel.

Still, every song on this release is enjoyable for one reason or another, with only a few missteps in the extended pieces to find fault with. A great purchase for fans of the classic Spock's Beard.

Songwriting: 3 - Instrumental Performances: 3 - Lyrics/Vocals: 2 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 4

Prog Leviathan | 3/5 |

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