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(64:13, Musea Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Prism 1:25 2. Apathy 6:01 3. Empathy 4:30 4. Quest 5:57 5. Blue Wednesday 5:16 6. Saturation 5:17 7. Emptiness 7:18 8. Fulfillment 4:57 9. Spectrum in Principle 1:33 10. Awaken 1:36 11. Atonment 7:38 12. Edge 5:50 13. Hope 3:46 14. Destiny 2:16 LINEUP: Greg Sherman – keyboards, grand piano Jeff Sherman – bass; keyboards Jerry Cook – drums
Prolusion. The history of the US trio GLASS begins in the distant 1973. Two years later the band recorded its debut album, "No Stranger to the Skies", which, although excellent, saw the light of day as an official release only in 2004. Inspired by this event, the musicians promptly returned to the scene, and, over the following six years, they have issued three more albums, ""Illuminations" (2005), "Live at Progman Comet" (2007, another very good effort, consisting mainly of new compositions) and “Spectrum Principle”, which is the recording under review.
Analysis. If the band’s previous outing, "Live at Progman Comet", came across as its return to its roots, this one sounds like a set of outtakes from "Illuminations", more often evoking symphonic new age/ambient music than Art-Rock. Most of the 14 instrumental tracks that this 66-minute CD is made up of are slow-paced throughout, and many of those are in turn pedestrian mono-dimensional pieces, albeit some of them, such as Apathy and Emptiness, are at least titled properly. At first I was almost sure that there was no special need in describing all of the disc’s tracks, but then I decided to do that, at least concisely, because, in some cases, not only the composition, but also the performance is severely lacking in tightness. That being said, Prism, Destiny and Spectrum in Principle are brainchildren of synthesizers and odd effects of a variety of kinds. Apart from keyboards, Saturation and Emptiness each also contains drums and bass respectively, but, due to the awkward, egregiously incoherent interaction between the basic and additional instrument(s), both of the tracks sound as if the band was short on rehearsal time, though there is a general aura of irrelevance on the album, despite the fact the music is never complex. Ranging from 6 to 7 and a half minutes in length, Edge, Apathy, Quest and Atonment can be labeled as ‘your’ typical keyboard-trio art-rock pieces, but only with reservation, inasmuch as all of them are compositionally (or, rather, in construction) bi-thematic. On the last two of these the trio attempts to play ELP-style Symphonic Progressive, but it results in what is for the most part green and incomplete alike, the latter opus often evolving without a sense of logical continuation, as well as being highly repetitive on the other hand. The remaining five tracks, Blue Wednesday (which has a certain swingy feeling), Empathy, Fulfillment, Awaken and Hope, are all mellow ballads, very simple-minded, but at least cohesive throughout.
Conclusion. This is an effort that I don’t find to be even a mediocrity overall. The trio creates mildly interesting melodic formations here and there, but the whole affair lacks any real depth, let alone inspiration. I wonder what on Earth has pushed them to record this, since it’s as clear as God’s day that the Muse has not even for a second visited them after they issued the aforementioned live album. I hate to be bitterly critical, but I also hate when some people, wanting to please a band, praise anything, especially when they do so without knowing what they are talking about. As it’s the readers who purchase albums, it depends mainly on them whether Progressive Rock will survive or not.
VM=Vitaly Menshikov: July 19, 2011
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