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(71:45, MALS Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. The Great Escape 15:37 2. Hearts on Fire 7:27 3. Shake the Dust 7:25 4. Land of Love 7:15 5. Good Shepherd 8:53 6. Storm Trooper 9:42 7. For Chosen Ones 15:26 LINEUP: Jeremy Morris – vocals; guitars, bass; keyboards; drums Dave Dietrich - drums With: Peter Morris – drums Guillermo Cazenave – keyboards
Prolusion. US composer and multi-instrumentalist Jeremy MORRIS has been a productive artist since he released his debut album back in the 1980's. With a career ongoing for some 30 years by now, his back catalog is fairly immense at this point. "From the Dust to the Stars" is his most recent production at the time of writing, and was released by the Russian label MALS Records in the late summer of 2012.
Analysis. Jeremy Morris is an interesting artist in many ways. He covers a fair variety of styles, but is arguably best known as a purveyor of power pop rock. But tranquil instrumental albums and harder edged material are also a part of his repertoire, and in the years I've been tracking his output there's also a fair share of material of the kind covered on this disc: psychedelic progressive rock. What sets his albums apart from many others is the artists that most often come across as influential. First and foremost among these are The Beatles, and it's Jeremy's particular lead vocals that most of all conjure up that association, voice in general and expression in particular. Tightly constructed bass and drum patterns also give rise to associations in that department, although to my ears, I did find that thoughts in the direction of Tom Petty is a further association on this occasion. Supplementing these core features are keyboard textures and Mellotron weaving psychedelic oriented patterns, more often than not with a cosmic tinge to them. Elongated sequences of psychedelic-dripping guitar soloing further enhance the psychedelic and cosmic vibes of the material, on rare occasions even resulting in a sound not that far away from the good, old space cadets in Hawkwind. Point of reference for this specific association is a sequence in opening piece The Great Escape, if anyone wants to track this particular detail down. Apart from Beatlesesque cosmic and psychedelic vibes, this disc does bring a bit more to the table too. The recurring features are mellow, almost ambient cosmic sequences with more of an electronic foundation. Tranquil end themes as leadouts is another effect liberally applied throughout. Variations in pace and intensity sees to it that the songs don't appear too identical in sound, which is needful when the general sound is rather uniform. But there's also room for stylistic variations, Shake the Dust a piece with more of a blues oriented foundation, while Storm Trooper features clever use of impact riffs in the first half. But the overall scope of this production is fairly limited; this is an album that is centred around a particular style and expression where the main part of the variations resides in the subtle details department.
Conclusion. Psychedelic progressive rock of an accessible nature with subtle cosmic flavoring and a few but notable nods in the direction of The Beatles is what Jeremy provides on "From the Dust to the Stars". An album that should appeal to those who enjoy their vintage sounding psychedelic rock quite nicely, with a fine array of cosmic-tinged textures by way of keyboard and Mellotron as the icing on the cake for those who enjoy material of this particular kind, and yet another strong production by this fine US artist.
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