Author Topic: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. The First Twenty Years and Recap  (Read 11305 times)

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Offline hefdaddy42

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. The fat cats just kept getting fatter
« Reply #105 on: September 29, 2015, 08:59:52 AM »
The next update is coming soon... :)
What will it be?
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Offline ytserush

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. A case of Mellow Yellow
« Reply #106 on: September 29, 2015, 03:35:36 PM »
Day for Night



1999 saw the release of the band's 4th studio album, Day for Night.  Reviews have always been pretty mixed on this, and I am usually on the side of those who call it one of the band's weaker efforts - it's definitely the least best of the Neal era and their 2nd or 3rd least best overall - but I still like it a lot.

The title track, which kicks off the album, gets us off to a great start, with that fantastic intro and a song featuring some really catchy vocal melodies.  This is a song that is very hard to not sing along to.

Unfortunately, things take a mediocre turn pretty quickly with the next two songs.  "Gibberish" is just that: pure gibberish.  Pretty crappy song, featuring a multi-part harmony that is mostly really annoying, and the music sounds pretty rehashed and boring (it borrows from one of their own songs, "In the Mouth of Madness").  This is in my bottom 3 Spock's Beard songs.  "Skin" isn't awful so much that it is really bland. It's like it tried to be catchy in there, but missed the mark. The band sounds bored out of their minds in this song.

Things get back on track a little bit with "Distance to the Sun," a nice little acoustic number, featuring some great harmonies between Neal and NDV.  This isn't one of their better slower tunes, but it's a nice, enjoyable one.

"Crack the Big Sky" is next, and this song is where the album gets great.  This is a longtime favorite of mine.  Very proggy song, with an intro that ends with a section that always make you want to clap along.  Very nice dynamics throughout in this song, with some wonderful mellow moments and some great rocking sections.  Great use of the saxophone in the second half of this song.  Fantastic tune.

"The Gypsy" was my instant favorite from this record originally, and while I am not sure I would now give it the edge over the previous track on the album, I still love it.  This song is their Beard rocking their balls off!  :metal  David Meros' bass work in this one is off the charts, Neal gives us another catchy as hell vocal melody to sing along to, and Okumoto's work on the mellotron is absolutely perfect.

The next one was one co-written with Alan Morse and NDV, which you would have thought would have given us something new and cool, but instead it gave us a piece of crap, syrupy tune like "Can't Get It Wrong," which is comfortably the worst song the band has ever released on a studio album.  It's just awful.

The album ends with the 7-part suite known as "The Healing Colors of Sound."  Overall, it's a really good piece of music, although I think it could have been condensed a little bit.  Had the suite ended with Part 2 of the "The Healing Colors," I think it would have came off better, instead of having what seems like the unnecessary "My Shoes (Revisited)" reprise, following that ear-grinding static noise in "Urban Noise."  That aside, this songs shows off the quirky nature of the band, especially in "Mommy Comes Back," which is infectiously fabulous.  And "Lay It Down" is a good example of a killer vibe, and a great lead-up to the vocal reprise of the "Healing Colors" theme, which was all instrumental in Part 1.  Individually, "Lay It Down" is one of my favorite songs on this entire record.  The suite as a whole is really good, but I can't call it great.  I think this is where Neal started to get a little too reprise-happy at times when writing long songs/suites.

Overall, this is a good album. It has some clunkers, a couple of great tunes, and then a few songs that are really good.  It's not even close to being one of their best, but it's still one worth having if you are a fan.  :coolio

I guess this one is my least favorite which seems to consensus (who knew?)  Again I have to thank Neil for sending this to me about a week or so early.  Radiant was up and running by then but he was likely doing everything himself at this point.  I didn't really light the move toward the light and fluffy style of this album  but as usual there are some KILLER music on this The Distance To The Sun, Crack The Sky, Gypsy Can't Get It Wrong, (here I go naming the whole album again! Skin isn't bad either!)

And The Healing Colors of Sound suite is one of the best songs they've ever written.   If you've been fortunate to enough to catch them do this live, you just know. I wouldn't even know how to explain it. (I think I finally figured this out. I did see them for The Kindness of Strangers because I saw them at the first NEARfest in 1999 (along with Transatlantic) for Day For Night.

Of course the live albums (Live and The Whisky and NEARfest, Nick and Neil, Live in Europe and Don't Try This At Home) are even better. There are few bands that are as genuine and have as much fun as this band does live during this period. Go The Way You Go is one of my favorites on The Light, but it reaches another dimension live. Al, as usual, just kills it.   I'm forgetting a few VHS/DVDs here two aren't I.....

Offline KevShmev

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. And my soul has been kissed...
« Reply #107 on: September 29, 2015, 03:52:33 PM »
Snow



The summer of 2002 saw the release of the 6th Spock's Beard; it was also the final album they did with Neal Morse (as a full-time member), who left the band shortly after the release of the album. I always sort of noticed Neal's spiritual lyrics on the first five Spock's albums, as well as the first two Transatlantic albums, but I never really thought he was a guy who was gonna convert and leave the band over it, although I admittedly never thought about it.  I remember it was not long after the release of Snow that rumors starting circulating that Neal was either gonna leave the band or had already left the band, and when several online presences close to the band would neither confirm not disconfirm the rumors, you just kind of knew that their silence spoke volumes.  When Neal released his statement announcing his departure, and the reasons why, it wasn't totally unexpected, but it was still like a punch to the gut.  One of our favorite bands had just released a phenomenal record, epic in just about every way, and here there main songwriter and the man many thought was THE heart and soul of the band was suddenly not a part of it. I am not saying it took the wind out my sails regarding my enjoyment of the album, but it certainly changed the way I interpreted certain lyrics (some of which can relate to the story as well as Neal's personal journey).

It is hard to go in depth with each song with this record like I did with the others, since there are a total of 26 songs across the two CDs, but I will start by saying this format is pretty similar to Genesis' The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, in that Disc 1 is nearly flawless from start to finish, while Disc 2 is pretty great, too, even if there are times you think some trimming could have been done.  I mean, there isn't any single song on this album I do not like, but songs like "Welcome to NYC," "Looking for Answers" (which sounds completely out of place, especially since it is nearly the only song that is isolated on its own to where it doesn't fade it or out to anything else), "Devil's Got My Throat Revisted" (pretty unnecessary, although that long rising keyboard note is freaking awesome) and "Ladies And Gentlemen, Mister Ryo Okumoto on the Keyboards" (not sure what the purpose of this was, other than to have a live-like tune on the album), all could have been taken off and the album would have been just as great.

One thing in particular I really like about this album is the heavy focus on piano and acoustic guitars. Neal is just such a great writer of simple, yet very catchy, melodies, and while he can prog it up, and does here at times, there are a lot of simple melodies on the piano and acoustic guitar that are just lovely to listen to and add to the overall cohesiveness. I especially like some of the "end of song" transition bits, like how could the acoustic guitar at the end of "Long Time Suffering" leads into the next track, or the piano at the end of "4th Of July" leads into "I'm the Guy." Very clever and effective writing there.

For my money, the Disc 1 standout tracks here are "Long Time Suffering" and then everything on Disc 1 from "Love Beyond Words" to "Wind at My Back.' Nothing but pure greatness mostly the whole way on Disc 1. Favorites on Disc 2 include "I'm the Guy" (love that bass line), "Reflection" (short, yet great), "All is Vanity" (love how the moog solo is the same melody as the 'Love Beyond Words" piano solo), "I'm Dying," " I Will Go" and "Made Alive Again/Wind at My Back Reprise." I have to admit I wasn't a fan of that tacked on thing following the last track (just makes what feels like a disc that is a tad too long feel even longer, and the normal ending was so perfect), but that was easily lopped off my mp3 of it and I haven't listened to that bit in years. :lol

Many other favorite little moments include:

-that little jazzy breakdown in "Open Wide the Flood Gates" with the guitar solo and the piano and drums complimenting it perfectly.
-pretty much every melody in "Wind at My Back."
-The "Thought I was the bigger man..." vocal section of "All Is Vanity. That vocal sections gives me the chills every time.
-The Kansas-inspired instrumental section in "Devil's Got My Throat."
-Neal's call-out and thank you to the fans and the band at the end of the album (no way you can convince me that, knowing he was leaving the album, he didn't do that to thank the fans and the band).
-The way the final vocal in "Love Beyond Words" segue ways perfectly into the power chord that opens up "39th Street Blues."
-The climax in "Solitary Soul." EPIC.
-"I had a mustard today..." what would a SB album be without an absurdly, silly Neal Morse lyric. :lol :lol

Overall, this probably is the band's best studio album to date. Even with feeling a bit padded, it is still a beast of a record, and a recent start to finish listen of it reminded me of just how freaking much I love it, even if it did take me several days to get through it on drives to and from places. :biggrin:

Offline Orbert

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. And my soul has been kissed...
« Reply #108 on: September 29, 2015, 04:39:39 PM »
Comparisons with Genesis' The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway are unavoidable, of course.  Both were double albums (although The Lamb was a double LP whilst Snow is a double CD), both are concept albums telling the story of person, the main protagonist, and many fans of both bands and albums seem to agree that the first disc (or disk) is stronger than the second, although the second isn't bad.

The most interesting thing they have in common, I think, is the one that gets mentioned least.  Peter Gabriel left Genesis shortly after the release of The Lamb, and most fans thought it was the end of the band.  When Neal announced his departure from Spock's Beard shortly after the release of Snow, most fans thought it was the end of the band.

The difference is that within Genesis, Peter was the lead vocalist, but nearly all the music was written by the rest of the band, a lot of the lyrics and sometimes entire songs were written by others, and Phil Collins had already sung lead on a few tracks.  When Peter Gabriel left, yes the band changed, but they continued and even thrived.

Neal was much more the driving force behind Spock's Beard up to this point, and his leaving was a much larger event.  He'd written nearly everything, words and music, and was also lead vocalist (I've never really worked out how much, though).  Spock's Beard definitely took a hit when Neal left; there's no two ways about it.

As for the album itself, I love it, but as with other great concept albums, I tend to only listen to it when I have the time and inclination to play the whole thing.  This is rare, more rarely than I would like, but it does have the side effect of keeping the album fresh every time.  I played it through three or four times when I first got it (release date), and have probably played it three or four times since.  I just don't have that kind of listening time these days.  But I love it every time.

Offline hefdaddy42

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. And my soul has been kissed...
« Reply #109 on: September 29, 2015, 05:20:22 PM »
I know some people hold this album up as the band's greatest work, but I suspect that part of that comes from the fact that it was Neal's swan song, and the fact that it is a double album - we all know how many prog fans feel that bigger is better, and a double concept album is the great white whale.

I don't feel that way.  There is certainly some fantastic music here, but there is also (IMO) quite a bit of filler.  All in all, if this were whittled down to one disc, it might be SB's finest album of musical composition.  As it stands - it is still pretty good, but not at the top.
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Offline KevShmev

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. And my soul has been kissed...
« Reply #110 on: September 29, 2015, 08:22:22 PM »
Good points about the difference between PG's and Neal's role in their respective bands, Orbert. :tup :tup

hef, I get why some think it is padded - heck, I said that - but I always hate the word filler.  I think, in this case, Neal just got a bit too reprise-happy near the end.

Offline The Letter M

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. And my soul has been kissed...
« Reply #111 on: September 29, 2015, 10:40:52 PM »
"I will go..."

Neal didn't know it at the time, but this very poignant and touching, even if he didn't know it meant that he would be leaving the band the time he wrote that piece.

I just watched the Making Of Snow the other night, and it's one of my favorite of Neal's Behind-The-Scenes DVDs. His interviews are so heartfelt and emotional, and seeing the footage of him with the Beard in the studio working out songs was amazing. It's also great to see how the songs evolved from his initial writings, to loose demos at home, to in the studio. And while they didn't cover EVERY song or section of the album, they covered a great deal of it, and it was cool to see them all work out the details.

This album is definitely a Desert Island Disc for me, one of my top 10 albums of all time, and if you guys remember my old Top 50 Most Played Albums on my iPod thread, this was number one. I never EVER get bored of this album, and the combination of prog and pop, acoustic guitars and pianos, ballads and proggy rock sections, everything just FIT together so well. This was definitely the culmination of five albums of SB evolution.

I'm not sure there's much I can say about the songs, because as Kev said, the album itself is such a cohesive, singular piece of music that it's hard to really say one thing or another about each song because the strength of the songs is their relationship to everything else. The whole is definitely greater than the sum of the parts, and while there are plenty of double albums in my library, and plenty of concept albums, few are both, and this is one that I cannot listen to without stopping. It's impossible! If I can listen to the whole thing, I will.

I also remember listening to this album after going through a rough relationship break-up in 2005, and it really helped me pull through it and get it together. It was my go-to feel-good album, full of uplifting music and emotionally moving moments. I don't think an album has ever had that much emotional power for me since, but many have come close. For that, it'll be a favorite of mine for the rest of my days, and my favorite SB album (so far! Others have come close though...).

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Offline Kwyjibo

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. And my soul has been kissed...
« Reply #112 on: September 30, 2015, 01:12:48 AM »
I'll keep it short because I don't want to disturb the probably almost universal praise this will get: I think it's fairly mediocre with some good tunes here and there. My least favorite Neal record and my 2nd least favorite SB record overall. Coming after "V", I was so excited when I heard it was a concept album and a double album and maybe my expectations were just too high, but when it came out it was a huge letdown. I've really tried to like it and make it click but it just don't happen. End of story.

Offline Mladen

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. And my soul has been kissed...
« Reply #113 on: September 30, 2015, 05:50:04 AM »
Such a huge album, so many things going on... How to keep it short?

Lets try it. This is my 5th favorite SB album and one of the best concept albums of all time. The first disc is flawless pretty much up to Solitary soul (I've always thought the last two songs on disc one are slightly overrated), the second disc has a bit of filler but it's still quite awesome. Some of my favorite songs include Long time suffering, Love beyond words, Devil's got my throat, Open wide the flood gates, 4th of July, I'm dying, and quite a few more.

If I had to pick my favorite theme that runs through the album, it's the one after the very first verse in Made alive, the one that ends Stranger in a strange land. I also noticed it at the end of Open wide the flood gates and in the middle of I'm dying, it's truly one of the most beautiful, touching melodies I've ever heard. The Live at Sea DVD by SB features Neal Morse appearing on stage for a few tunes, and when someone from the audience yelled out "SNOW", Neal immediately played that very theme. That maybe shows it might be the central theme of the album. What do you guys think?

And yeah, the mustard line.  :heart

Offline ytserush

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. The fat cats just kept getting fatter
« Reply #114 on: October 01, 2015, 04:29:42 PM »
Or now...

V



This was the first Spock's Beard album to come out after I became a fan in 2000, and this pretty much was an instant winner in my book.  It had that same sound of the first Transatlantic album, and the songwriting was terrific.  Looking back, the sound was a major upgrade over the first four studio albums.  Everything just sounded better, except for maybe Alan Morse's tone when playing chords.  That has often been a source of annoyance for me, and there are times on this album where his guitar tone makes me want to punch a wall.  Still, not even that can prevent this from being a terrific album, easily one of the band's best.

"At the End of the Day" is 16 minutes and 28 seconds of prog rock bliss.  The melodies are soaring, the playing is terrific, pretty much every vocal section is catchy as hell, and it has that "epic without being overdone" feel about it.  This is a top 5 SB song in my book, and if someone wanted to call it their best song, I would not put up an argument.

"Revelation" is one of those songs I've gone up and down about over the years, largely because I have sometimes found the chorus a little bland, but at this point in time, I am a big fan.  The chorus sounds very evil, quite a contrast dynamically to the verses.  "She's my partner in my crime against the clock," followed by those single keyboard notes, which always gives me the image of a grandfather clock ticking in my head, remains one of my favorite moments on this entire album.

"Thoughts (Part II)" was an immediate favorite of mine, although the shine of it wore off me a tad over time; I still like it a lot, regardless.  I am not always a fan of the Gentle Giant-esque multi-layered harmonies (they can sound too corny at times), but I think the ones in this song are very well done.  The instrumentation is phenomenal as well.

There isn't anything special or crazy about "All on a Sunday," other than it being just a fun song that is great to crank up and rock out to.

Spock's has a lot of mellow acoustic songs, and "Goodbye to Yesterday" is one of the best ones, IMO.  A very impassioned vocal performance by Neal makes this song even better than it would be in the hands of just about any other vocalist.  Neal isn't a technically gifted singer by any means, but he has one of the most pleasant and engaging singing voices I have ever heard, and this song is a fine example of it.

And then we get to the BIG epic, "The Great Nothing," written about Kevin Gilbert.  On just about every level, this song is nothing short of phenomenal, and I like it a ton, but it does seem to lack that little extra something that would have actually made it phenomenal.  If you ask me what that something is, I cannot tell you; I just know it is out there, or shall I say, not out there. :lol :lol  Regardless, this is still a very well written tune, with some bone-chilling melodies.  2000 was kind of when Neal came up with a specific formula he would use quite often for long epics, first on Transatlantic's "All of the Above" and then here on "The Great Nothing," and there is no denying what a great formula it is.

Overall, I love this record, but for some reason, it isn't one I listen to as much I should considering how highly I think of it.  I probably wouldn't call it my favorite of theirs at this point in time, but it was still a tremendous achievement in the world of progressive rock, and solidified their position as one of the best modern prog rock bands. :hat

This is where it got real. Things got really heavy with this album. Although it's a favorite album of mine, there aren't very many light or fun songs on this album. (except for All on a Sunday and Thoughts Part II)

A first I though that The Great Nothing was inspired by Kevin Gilbert's The Shaming Of The True, but given the state of the music industry in the '90s they may have been feeling the same things.

 Tears have been shed after seeing At The End Of The Day live.  I can't even begin to explain what that was like. Everything seemed to come together on this record.  To me, everything up to this point has just been one magical ride.

The double show at the Bottom Line in 2001 was a night I'll never forget.  (Sitting at a table in right front of the mighty Spock's Beards on stage.)
 
I may be confusing tours, but Nick made be a fan of Squonk when he sang this live. I was never a fan of that song until I heard watched the band play it. I might even like their version better than the original.

Just a fantastic album and a very mature sound than what came before.

Offline KevShmev

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. And my soul has been kissed...
« Reply #115 on: October 02, 2015, 03:50:08 PM »
Dang, I thought there'd be a lot more discussions about Snow.  Only six posts about it since Tuesday. ??? :(

Offline Orbert

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. And my soul has been kissed...
« Reply #116 on: October 02, 2015, 05:17:24 PM »
I just got through my listen.  I still love it pretty much cover to cover, but man, it's a long work.  A double CD is a lot of music.  So I spread it out over the past few days while commuting.  Not optimal, but the only way to do it.

Wow, I'm starting to dig the second half more.  I found a few of the instrumentals really grabbing me like they didn't before, some great jams there.  It's possible that on previous listens, my attention and/or enthusiasm was starting to wander by then.  Ryo's "live" solo which is always fun (and not quite as cheesy as I remembered it being), and all the recaps, which do go on a bit, but it's a long work and there are a lot of themes to finish up.

That whole closing thing with

You're the wind at my back
You give what I lack
You're the jewel in my hand
You're like rain on dry land


structurally works the same way as the closing section from Tommy by The Who:

Listening to you, I get the music
Gazing at you, I get the heat
Following you, I climb the mountain
I get excitement at your feet


It's the reprise of a piece introduced earlier, repeated, with some variation to the lyrics, and serves as a great closing to the album.

Offline Nihil-Morari

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. And my soul has been kissed...
« Reply #117 on: October 03, 2015, 05:26:04 AM »
I love Snow. I really do. But I don't listen to it a lot. It doesn't work as background music, it's not a car album either. It's an album I need to listen to in one go, headphones on, following the lyrics. And that just doesn't really happen a lot. But I'll see if I can find the time these days!
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Offline hefdaddy42

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. And my soul has been kissed...
« Reply #118 on: October 03, 2015, 05:38:11 AM »
I will say that the combination of Wind at my Back with the ending run of I Will Go and Made Alive/Wind at my Back is one of my favorite sets of music by anyone ever.
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Offline seasonsinthesky

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. And my soul has been kissed...
« Reply #119 on: October 03, 2015, 06:45:54 AM »
Not enough love for "Carie" happening in here. That was the #1 wow moment on first listen for me. Sometimes I'm angry it doesn't go longer/have a chorus/etc. but on the other hand I think this and a lot of Snow benefits from fitting the overall structure rather than individual song structures. I get very tired of every song doing the chorus 3-4 times, so the way SB often avoid it or do it unconventionally (including more recent stuff) is a huge attraction.

Offline KevShmev

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. And my soul has been kissed...
« Reply #120 on: October 03, 2015, 07:15:58 AM »
I remember many raving over Carie when the album first dropped, and I have always liked it a lot, but it has never really been a favorite of mine from the album.  Just too many other songs that are better, IMO.  Still a really good tune, regardless. :coolio

hef, mine too! :tup :tup

Orbert, very true about some of the instrumental jams on Disc 2.  I think Snow's Night Out is a good example of how fun SB's music can often sound.

Offline Nihil-Morari

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. And my soul has been kissed...
« Reply #121 on: October 03, 2015, 03:00:16 PM »
My favorite moment concerning this record was actually the first time after reading it was a concept album. I had listened to songs of this record before, or on shuffle or anything, but never noticed a storyline. (Which is quite obvious, but I guess not for a 16 year old non-English speaker)
The first time I heard the record after knowing it had a storyline I was floored by the line 'His folks named him John, but everyone else called him Snow'. Suddenly I was hit by the fact that this was a very special record. I loved that first listen.
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Offline KevShmev

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. And my soul has been kissed...
« Reply #122 on: October 03, 2015, 09:33:26 PM »
That is a pretty cool line. So simple, yet so effective.

One of my favorite lyrics from this record has always been, "And in two years he made the cover of Time."  It just sounds neat. :coolio

Offline RoeDent

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. And my soul has been kissed...
« Reply #123 on: October 04, 2015, 01:32:50 AM »
Ah, Snow. Magnificent album, one you can immerse yourself in for an evening. Some of my favourite moments/observations:

- My favourite of these musical themes is the one that appears on French horn after the vocals end in Made Alive, in the transition to the Overture. The way it changes from a major key to a minor key always gives me goosebumps. Especially when it comes in at the end of I'm Dying. That, to me personally, feels like the climax of the whole album, the crisis point.

- Another favourite moment is how, during Open the Gates Pt. 2, the line "Open up the flood..." just fades out. It doesn't resolve itself until the end of I Will Go when we finally come back to the key the album opened in for the Made Alive reprise.

- The instrumental in All Is Vanity reprises first of all the piano solo from Love Beyond Words, then the main part of the Overture. Coming halfway through the second disc this makes for a great interlude in the flow of the album.


« Last Edit: October 04, 2015, 09:17:22 AM by RoeDent »
*smash cut to a bleached white skeleton*

Offline Mladen

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. And my soul has been kissed...
« Reply #124 on: October 04, 2015, 04:23:47 AM »
My favourite of these musical themes is the one that appears on French horn after the vocals end in Made Alive, in the transition to the Overture. The way it changes from a major key to a minor key always gives me goosebumps.
Yes, more appreciation for that theme! One of the most beautiful themes I've ever heard.

Offline Nihil-Morari

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. And my soul has been kissed...
« Reply #125 on: October 04, 2015, 04:27:43 AM »
Have you guys seen The Official Bootleg DVD by Transatlantic?

There's a bit on there, where Neal is backstage playing a song he just wrote that morning. It's called No Separation, and while it's a beautiful song, the best bit about that is, that after an acoustic guitar song he goes into that Horns theme. It was never used, but it's a great bit of insight in how Neal links things and how he was writing that record.
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Offline The Letter M

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. And my soul has been kissed...
« Reply #126 on: October 04, 2015, 11:36:17 AM »
Have you guys seen The Official Bootleg DVD by Transatlantic?

There's a bit on there, where Neal is backstage playing a song he just wrote that morning. It's called No Separation, and while it's a beautiful song, the best bit about that is, that after an acoustic guitar song he goes into that Horns theme. It was never used, but it's a great bit of insight in how Neal links things and how he was writing that record.

Huh, I'll have to look for that!

That reminds me, on Transatlantic's Live In Europe DVD, during "Stranger In Your Soul" Neal plays the piano break from "Love Beyond Words".

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Offline Nihil-Morari

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. And my soul has been kissed...
« Reply #127 on: October 04, 2015, 11:47:51 AM »
Have you guys seen The Official Bootleg DVD by Transatlantic?

There's a bit on there, where Neal is backstage playing a song he just wrote that morning. It's called No Separation, and while it's a beautiful song, the best bit about that is, that after an acoustic guitar song he goes into that Horns theme. It was never used, but it's a great bit of insight in how Neal links things and how he was writing that record.

Huh, I'll have to look for that!

That reminds me, on Transatlantic's Live In Europe DVD, during "Stranger In Your Soul" Neal plays the piano break from "Love Beyond Words".

-Marc.

Ah yeah! I forgot about that! That's a beautiful touch, fits perfectly.
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Offline jingle.boy

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. And my soul has been kissed...
« Reply #128 on: October 05, 2015, 06:28:58 AM »
My third fave SB album.  I love concepts, and while the story on this one is kinda out-there, it's still a magnificent album.  I could never imagine not listening to it start to finish.  I took a pause at the end of disc 1, but otherwise it's not something that can be appreciated unless listening to the whole thing.  Some concepts have standalone capabilities, I just think this doesn't. Sure, some songs could stand on their own, but I couldn't fathom why.  SFAM for instance, you can take almost any of those songs individually... I don't think that applies here.

Favorite parts mimic a lot of what has already been said - especially what hef said about the outro tracks.

No talk of Disc 3?  I know it's not part of the concept, but it's got some pretty nice bonus items.
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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. And my soul has been kissed...
« Reply #129 on: October 05, 2015, 06:33:57 AM »
Awesome album and always bittersweet because of Neil leaving. But for the very last song, I always thought it was pretty flawless.

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Offline KevShmev

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. And my soul has been kissed...
« Reply #130 on: October 05, 2015, 05:15:59 PM »


No talk of Disc 3?  I know it's not part of the concept, but it's got some pretty nice bonus items.

The only things from that I remember are the acoustic version of The Light (which is very nice) and their cover of South Side of the Sky (which is a good demonstration of how awful Alan Morse's rhythm tone was at time in the early 00s).  I seem to remember the live acoustic version of Open Wide... being really good, but I haven't listened to it in a long time.

Offline RoeDent

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. And my soul has been kissed...
« Reply #131 on: October 08, 2015, 01:56:16 PM »
If I may go back one album, I ordered a copy of V, and it arrived today. I'm giving it a full spin for the first time now. Away from the songs, I reckon the guy on the cover walking through the desert is Snow. Just, he has his head shaven and has his case replaced with a ghetto blaster during the off-season between albums.
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Offline KevShmev

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. And my soul has been kissed...
« Reply #132 on: October 08, 2015, 08:57:31 PM »
LOL, I did not see that coming. :lol :lol

Next update coming soon...

Offline KevShmev

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. There's a place for you to start
« Reply #133 on: October 10, 2015, 09:04:15 AM »
Feel Euphoria



Following the departure of Neal Morse, the band revealed that they would be pulling a Genesis: instead of replacing Neal, drummer Nick D'Virgilio would take over the lead vocals, and Ryo Okumoto took over as the full-time player of all keyboard instruments.  I will admit I was skeptical, not necessarily of NDV singing, but would they be able to write good songs without their primary songwriter?  They did bring John Boegehold on as a regular songwriter, a possession he still retains as an unofficial band member.

Feel Euphoria came out in July of 2003, just 11 months after Snow. Shortly before its release, a teaser was posted online of clips from various songs from the new album and I was impressed with them; any doubts of whether I would buy the new album were gone. I bought the album right away and my cautious expectations were greatly exceeded right away. The album had a lot of energy, a bit more of a rocking edge, and, most importantly, really good songs.

The opener, "Onomatopoeia," was a slamming rocker from the start, unlike anything they had really ever done. It's like they were screaming, "Neal is gone, and we are going to rock now!" Good tune.  "The Bottom Line" is a great blend of pop and prog. I love the bubble synths in this song, especially in the proggy latter half; probably my third favorite song here. The title track is kind of a strange tune, and I like it, but I can see why a lot of fans do not; it's very strange. "Shining Star" is an enjoyable ballad, albeit not really that noteworthy.

The next two tracks are not only the two best on the album, but two of the best of the post-Neal era, IMO. "East of Eden, West of Memphis," is a fantastic rocker, with an impassioned vocal performance by NDV, an awesome rhythm, and a neat proggy latter half. Plus, it has my favorite NDV drum fill ever (that little cymbal thing he does in the 2nd verse the first time he sings East of Eden, West of Memphis...he does this little cymbal thing on the second "of" there that just sounds so freaking cool).  "Ghost of Autumn" is a lovely ballad, with some terrific piano work by Ryo, a great solo by Alan Morse, and a very dramatic melody; I remember hearing this song for the first time and thinking, "Okay, the band is going to be just fine."

"A Guy Named Sid" is the epic of the record, similar to "Healing Colors of Sound" in that it is broken up into multiple tracks instead of being one single track.  Like "Healing...," it kind of has that suite/melody feel more than "single song" feel, but it is is still pretty darn good. "You Don't Know" alone is one of the best moments on the entire album. Now, some of the lyrics in this song are tragically bad, but I can overlook them most of the time because the suite is such a fun musical ride. While not one of my absolute favorite epics of theirs, I still like it a lot as a whole.

"Carry On" ends the album on an upbeat, almost like the band's way of saying they will carry on without Neal and that this album is just the start. It kind of has that proggy, triumphant feel that bands can sometimes work into a song of normal length, and it's a good song, even if it does feel like at times that it could have been that much better had a few melodies been tweaked a bit.

So there we have it: the first post-Neal Morse Spock's Beard album, and it was a very good one. For many fans like me, who had lowered expectations, this album was a massively pleasant surprise, and I still enjoy the heck out of it.

Offline hefdaddy42

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. There's a place for you to start
« Reply #134 on: October 10, 2015, 10:51:49 AM »
I've only listened to this one a few times.  I had low expectations as well, and although it wasn't as bad as I feared it might be, it was different enough from the Neal era that it just, well, wasn't the same anymore. 

However, now a lot of time has gone by, and the idea of SB without NM isn't weird anymore.  So I look forward to listening to this again with "new" ears.
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Offline Orbert

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. There's a place for you to start
« Reply #135 on: October 10, 2015, 01:25:45 PM »
I remember being pretty disappointed by this when I first listened to it, despite keeping expectations low.  They definitely sounded different, and it's not that different is bad, it's that in this case it just wasn't very good.

I listened again earlier this week, after Snow, and I found it much better than I'd thought.  More rocking, and a few things musically we never heard with the old Spock's Beard.  This was the one to reestablished them, and as such, it's not bad.

Offline The Letter M

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. There's a place for you to start
« Reply #136 on: October 10, 2015, 06:58:54 PM »
Been spinning this one a few times this past week in anticipation of this post. I remember listening to this one after I had already fallen in love with the Neal-Era SB albums, and this one was definitely different, and a bit of a departure of what had come before it. Later albums would return to their former glory and heavy prog roots, but this one was definitely different for the sake of being different. It was a statement, a declaration that the band was ready to show off what they had without Neal.

If anything remained the same, it was the structure of the album - rocking opener, a couple slower songs, a ballad, a couple of longer songs with extended crazy instrumental sections, a multi-movement epic, and a closer to round things out. This was, on paper, definitely a Spock's Beard album, but the music was something else. Each member picked up their slack and expressed themselves to a new extent, and mostly with good results!

Despite how good this one turned out to be in retrospect, the three albums that followed, making up the Nick-Era, definitely were better and more focused, though the opener, "Ghosts of Autumn", "East Of Eden, West Of Memphis", and the epic "A Guy Named Sid" are some of my favorites from the album, and from the Nick-Era albums over-all!

It's still a shame that no live album was released from this period given that the band performed a medley of Snow songs, as well as AGNS. Are there any decent soundboard bootlegs out there of this tour? I'd love to hear one, especially since we've gotten live albums from following three albums' tours.

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Offline KevShmev

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. There's a place for you to start
« Reply #137 on: October 10, 2015, 10:11:21 PM »
Not to jump ahead, but I definitely do not agree that the next two albums were better.  FE and Octane are both pretty consistent, but FE has higher highs, and the self-titled has some of their most bland songs ever.  Okay, I jumped ahead a bit. :lol :lol

Offline The Letter M

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. There's a place for you to start
« Reply #138 on: October 11, 2015, 10:58:47 AM »
Not to jump ahead, but I definitely do not agree that the next two albums were better.  FE and Octane are both pretty consistent, but FE has higher highs, and the self-titled has some of their most bland songs ever.  Okay, I jumped ahead a bit. :lol :lol

I can understand why you feel that way. To be honest, for me, I rank FE and SB9 to be pretty close to me. It took me awhile to warm-up to FE, and I became a fan of the band between Octane and SB9, so being their first new record after becoming a fan, SB9 had an impact on me and I enjoyed it quite a bit. Ask me in a few years and I might say I like FE more than SB9, or I may say I like them just the same, though I do agree Octane (Special Edition) is better than both (and X is definitely the best of the Nick-Era albums).

And speaking of Special Editions, I do want to add that Feel Euphoria DOES feature two bonus tracks, "Moth Of Many Flames", an acoustic piece by sung Alan Morse and co-written with John Boegehold, and "From The Messenger" by Ryo Okumoto, a solo keyboard/synth piece that is very atmospheric.

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. There's a place for you to start
« Reply #139 on: October 11, 2015, 11:46:17 AM »
I don't think you can compare NM leaving Spock's Beard to PG leaving Genesis.    PG was mostly just a lyricist.   NM was very nearly 100% of the entire songwriting.

It would be more like Porcupine Tree continuing without Steven Wilson. 
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