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Bruce Main - 2007 - "Elements"

(48:40 / 'Main')



1.  Before 7:56
2.  The Heat 4:32
3.  Feel the Rain 4:58
4.  Arctic Toast 4:39
5.  Things of Earth 4:58
6.  Red Flags 14:25
7.  One Day 5:42


Bruce Main - guitars; keyboards 
Don Freeborn - drums 
Brian Phraner - bass
Mark Phraner - vocals 
Freddy Krumins - vocals 
Matt Main - bass clarinet 

Prolusion. With Dimitry Mendeleev's table of elements as its artwork, here is "Elements", the third solo album by American artist Bruce MAIN, following "Layers" (2005) and "Tracks" (2004).

Analysis. Apart from Bruce, who plays guitars and keyboards, this recording includes five more musicians: clarinetist Matt Main, drummer Don Freeborn, bassist Brian Phraner and two singers, Mark Phraner and Freddy Krumins, although on one of the seven songs present (no instrumentals here) pianist Bruce Jones is also featured. As Mr. Main says, undeniably progressive yet accessible to the masses, this album could be the one that brings Prog Rock back into the mainstream of the commercial musical scene after a 30-year hiatus. I will not comment on the latter ambitious statement, but I agree, while being overall unpretentious, his music is not without progressive elements. Even the atmospheric ballad One Day (the only one without rhythm section) has its fine moments, though its thematic uniformity makes it the most monotonous number in the set. Of the other two slow-paced songs, Feel the Rain and Things of Earth, the former is a typical ballad with a single, yet agreeable piano interlude, whilst the latter contains two instrumental sections, one of which stands out for its expressive interplay between acoustic guitar and bass clarinet. Beginning with a Flamenco-inspired movement, the long Red Flags (14:25) is the only track here that more of less fully conforms to my concept of genuine Progressive Rock and is generally good, despite all the pointless effects and the sounds of nature present (in its middle section) and some repetitions as well. Being a kind of traditionally-gentlemanly collection of tracks, the CD contains also a hard-rocker, The Heat, and two art-rock-like songs, Before and Arctic Toast, all of which would've been much more impressive had they not been overloaded with singing and featured less returns to previously paved furrows either.

Conclusion. IMHO, Bruce Main's main achievement (ouch, sorry) lies in the fact that he never betrays the originality of his compositional thinking. Although really while consisting predominantly of elementary particles (figuratively speaking), none of the tracks on this recording arouse any associations; hence the rating.

VM: Agst 2, 2007

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