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Sleepy Hollow - 2000 - "Sleepy Hollow"

(55:00 / 'Protos Music')



1.  Destiny 5:05
2.  Two Too Late 2:07
3.  From Above 5:56
4.  Sleepy Hollow 6:56


Joe Dell - piano, organ, synthesizers; vocals
Matt Schwarz - guitars; flute; vocals
Dan Castiel - bass; sax; vocals
Frank Melick - drums; vocals

Prolusion. SLEEPY HOLLOW is a relatively new band from New Jersey, USA, who have two releases to date. Some ten months ago I examined their second (full-length) album, "Going Over", whilst here is a kind of retrospective view of their eponymous debut EP.

Analysis. The four tracks on this CD all have a lyrical component, each finding a different musician behind the microphone, thus presenting the vocal possibilities (rather capabilities) of each of the four members. But although all the songs reveal a different picture on their vocal angles, besides which each is saturated with a vintage aura, two of the tunes, Destiny and From Above, are nearly twin brothers in terms of both composition and style. Within their vocal sections, the music is nothing more than traditional Hard Rock, and even though the instrumental background is not simplistic there, with either the organ or piano soloing both ceaselessly and inventively, the singing discloses a primitive verse-chorus approach. The purely instrumental arrangements are much more impressive, especially those on the latter, as they are more large-scaled. To cut a long story short, in their pan-musical appearance these two have something in common with Uriah Heep at their heaviest and most progressive alike (but not counting any of their epic and semi-epic creations, beginning with the title track of their "Salisbury" album). The piece very widely deploying acoustic instruments (flute, saxophone and guitar - apart from the ubiquitous piano), Two Too Late, is a beautiful, complicated symphonic art-rock ballad with occasional bluesy intonations, whose only drawback is still the limitation of its vocal storyline. The title track clocks in just under seven minutes and is delightful throughout, revealing much diversity on all levels. While the music is much more often hard than otherwise, it always retains a distinct symphonic quality to it and features enough dynamic transitions to keep the listener's attention. All in all, this is a fully-fledged progressive rock tune, stylistically resembling a cross between Uriah Heep, Deep Purple and ELP, though its flute-driven interlude may evoke Camel.

Conclusion. I can recommend this disc probably to anyone with interest in progressive Hard Rock, especially since "Sleepy Hollow" stands out for that both nostalgic and pleasing retro sound without which, IMHO, that genre just cannot exist nowadays. On the other hand, I understand that the EP format is not very popular within the progressive rock camp.

VM: April 29, 2007

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