Very much like the coffee and walnut cake my daughter has just made, the 11th studio album from Spock’s Beard is absolutely delicious! I cannot say I have ever been an avid fan, preferring to take small bites when the mood takes me; however, I am always willing to make that little bit of extra room if the correct ingredients are used and ‘Brief Nocturnes And Dreamless Sleep’ has had something very special added to it indeed! Pinning down exactly what that might be is infuriatingly just out of reach for me at the moment, but a lot is certainly down to new vocalist Ted Leonard who has added a warmth and passion missing from the last couple of albums. Also, a good move has been to introduce live drummer/vocalist Jimmy Keegan as a permanent member of the band. He totally understands the intricacies of Spock’s Beard and everything seems less structured and more organic with this album. Even though they do have their own sound I can hear, in a good way, a multitude of influences on ‘Nocturnes’. If you are new to Spock’s Beard then, on this release, imagine good amounts of Genesis, Yes, Pink Floyd, Kansas, Dream Theater, IQ and Marillion blended together with a dash of It Bites, a sprinkle of ELO and Queen, a tiny pinch of soul and you have a prog rock album that could grace many a palette.
Alan Morse (guitar/vocals), Dave Meros (bass/keyboards/vocals) and Ryo Okumoto (keyboards/vocals) have really had their chef’s hats on coming up with ideas for this album and along with the two new/old members have found a flavour that defines Spock’s Beard. Sonically, ‘Nocturnes’ is also absolutely stunning, as full and vibrant as your favourite cake filling! If I had combined all of these things so successfully I wouldn’t have thought any final toppings were needed. Spock’s Beard, however, have decided to reintroduce a long lost ingredient and Neal Morse has also returned to co-write two of the songs. This collaboration has resulted in ‘Waiting For Me’ arguably the finest twelve minutes the band has ever recorded. Just like the coffee cake I started this review with, Spock’s Beard probably won’t be for everyone, but if you do give ‘Brief Nocturnes And Dreamless Sleep’ a go and digest it correctly you may just find that it’s actually one of the tastiest things you’ve tried!
BRIEF NOCTURNES AND DREAMLESS SLEEP
Review by Rick Tilley
1st April 2013
1) Hiding Out
2) I Know Your Secret
3) A Treasure Abandoned
6) Something Very Strange
7) Waiting for Me
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"...imagine good amounts of Genesis, Yes, Pink Floyd, Kansas, Dream Theater, IQ and Marillion blended together with a dash of It Bites, a sprinkle of ELO and Queen, a tiny pinch of soul and you have a prog rock album that could grace many a palette."