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(50:37 / 'Ferris Mudd')
TRACK LIST: 1. Time to Fly 6:51 2. The Move 4:37 3. Over Your Head 8:32 4. Anyway 7:07 5. Unrapped 4:11 6. End of Day 4:52 7. Call It Your Own 6:49 8. You're Alone 7:32 LINEUP: Steve Richard - lead vocals, el. & ac. guitars Danny Dicus - bass, ac. guitar; keyboards; b/v Lester Meredith - drums; ac. guitar; keyboards; b/v
Prolusion. The recording under review is the eponymous debut CD by FERRIS MUDD, a trio from the southern American state of Alabama. I have nothing to add here regarding the outfit's history, due to the scarcity of information in the press kit.
Analysis. According to the group, their music is inspired by a whole host of progressive musicians, some jazz-rock performers included. I won't list the numerous artists whom Ferris Mudd regard as their mentors, because the works of most of those don't find their reflections in this album, besides which there are no even quasi improvisations to be found here. To my way of thinking, Ferris Mudd have only three passions, namely classic Pink Floyd and Porcupine Tree, plus the Trevor Rabin-era Yes (listed in line of descent according to their weight in the creation), the influence of the first band manifesting itself on each of the disc's eight tracks. Generally, Pink Floyd would be the key word here, taking into consideration that Porcupine Tree are themselves followers of the space-rock pioneers, while the Yes influence is only present on two pieces, revealing itself almost exclusively in the vocals. Even without giving heed to the fact that their music is lacking in originality, I have a mixed feeling about Ferris Mudd's first effort, since only half of the songs (no instrumentals here) belong to the prog rock genre, whereas the other four, Anyway, End of Day, Unrapped and Call It Your Own, are all in the final analysis quite simple, repetitive ballads which, while having very much in common between them, strictly follow one another from track 4 to 7 instead of being intermixed with the more profound creations. Okay, Unrapped and Call It Your Own each contain a couple of seemingly promising transitions, but nothing significant happens in reality, save for the mere fact that on the latter piece the band showcases their ability to imitate Yes's distinctive 3-voice choir singing. I quickly became bored when listening to those four, especially since the three preceding compositions, Time to Fly, The Move and Over Your Head, are all in many ways remarkable, even though these, unlike the ballads, are more at times openly derivative, two of the vocal themes on the opening track being literally ripped off from Yes. For the most part however, it's The Sleep of No Dreaming from Porcupine Tree's "Signify" that serves as a basis for Time to Fly, on all levels. Well, The Move is also a slow-paced piece, besides which it as if instantly invites the listener to join in by singing "The lunatic is on the grass". Nevertheless the music is diverse enough to consider that track something weightier than an ordinary ballad. The only largely instrumental piece in the set, the longest track Over Your Head, is Ferris Mudd's most progressive creation to date:-), symphonic Space Rock quite often bordering on Space Metal. Think a slightly emasculated version of the third vocal section of Dogs ("Animals"), married with Eloy's "Metromania" and, again, "Signify" by Porcupine Tree, and you will hit the mark, you may believe me. Finally the song You're Alone concludes the CD and the list of highlights as well, standing out for its lush keyboard and acoustic guitar patterns, still in the Pink Floyd style.
Conclusion. I believe it is clear from the previous paragraph that the debut Ferris Mudd output doesn't set any new standards, nor does it open any new doors into the world of Space Rock. Half of the recording is a decent listen, meaning for those whose horizon is broader than an average mainstream-prog fan, but it doesn't much matter. The CD probably meets all the requirements of the notorious demands of the times, thus guaranteeing its success.
VM: September 23, 2007
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