Pattern Seeking Animals are pretty much Spock’s Beard (where do these American prog bands get their names from?) in a slightly different guise, with the band’s membership consisting of vocalist and guitarist Ted Leonard, bassist Dave Meros and Jimmy Keegan on drums/vocals. Leonard and Meros currently play in Spock’s Beard, whereas Keegan is their former drummer and, together with John Boegehold, who plays keyboards and produced this release and who has been a long-time collaborator with Spock’s Beard, here we have Pattern-Seeking Animals.
There is a contrast here between differing song lengths, with three of the songs being around the ten-minute mark and the remainder being much shorter with two being sub four minutes. As you can imagine, this leads to a difference in song styling, although each are equally valid and have their merits.
The longer songs have a chance to develop and explore different musical textures. ‘No Burden Left To Carry’ is the album opener and clocks in at just under ten minutes. It really is a classic of the prog genre with an attention catching intro, multi-layered vocals, superb instrumental passages and excellent musicianship, with the guitar playing a particular highlight. The other lengthier songs, ‘Orphans of the Universe’ and ‘Stars Along the Way’, follow a similar template, with the former being perhaps more synth driven than the latter which features a beautifully delicate acoustic intro.
Of the shorter songs, the standouts are ‘The Same Mistakes Again’, which showcases Leonard’s impassioned vocal style, has live string orchestration and yet more excellent guitar playing, and ‘Fall Away’, an emotionally charged ballad.
I have to say that, when I was given this release to review, I didn’t have the faintest idea who Pattern-Seeking Animals were. It was a hugely pleasant surprise, therefore, when I started to play it before reading the accompanying press biography, and Leonard’s distinctive vocals kicked in on the opening track. I knew the release had to have some connection with Spock’s Beard, a band I like greatly.
What unfolded during the next hour or so was an aural treat of the finest kind. If you are a fan of Spock’s Beard you’ll need no persuasion to check this release out, but if you’re not familiar with their work in its various guises, but like classic prog, I would strongly suggest that you investigate it without further delay!
Review by Dave Uphill
5th July 2019
1) No Burden Left to Carry
2) The Same Mistakes Again
3) Orphans of the Universe
4) No One Ever Died and Made Me King
5) Fall Away
6) These are My Things
7) We Write the Ghost Stories
8) No Land's Man
9) Stars Along the Way
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"...an aural treat of the finest kind."