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(55:09; Dakesh Entertainment)
TRACK LIST: 1. Riding Low (and Flying High) 5:21 2. Dam That River 5:31 3. Head Down South 0:54 4. Cross the Border 5:30 5. Kimberley 7:33 6. Black Gold (Ogoni Nine) 5:41 7. Teotihuacan 5:42 8. Wishing Well 6:15 9. Ring Ding Ding (Rana Plaza) 5:19 10. Zero Tolerance (Kids for Cash) 5:21 11. Earth, Incorporated 2:02 LINEUP: Dan Sheehan – guitars, vocals, bass, keyboards Dave Krusen – drums with: Ori Yekutiel – drums Patrick Moraz – piano Karmina Dai – vocals John LaBarbera – guitars, cavaquinho, percussion, cuatro Vinnie Cutro – trumpet Peter Furlan – saxophone Nadya Kourani – strings Paul Lee – violin Will Sapanaro – bass Andy Krikun – vocals Kevin Nathaniel – mbira, hoshos Jake Brown – sitar Sherry Adams – voice
Prolusion. US composer and musician Dan SHEEHAN have been active in the music scene since the 1990's from what I can understand, with five albums to his name as a solo artist following his days as a band member. "Tales From Earth Incorporated" is his most recent production, and was released through the label Dakesh Entertainment in 2019.
Analysis. Sheehan describes himself, among other things, as an artist creating alternative rock. Which is a description I think suits the material on his latest album fairly well. More alternative in approach than most artists placed within the broad genre umbrella alternative rock perhaps, but alternative strikes me as a good phrase in this context. Ultimately, "Tales From Earth Incorporated" is a concept album, where I'd hazard a guess that the message is at least as important as the music, if not even more so. It's an album that probably would be found as provocative by many people who vote for the Republican party in his home nation, and messages and factual information about greed, abuse of people, nature and resources are thematic red threads that runs through this album. Concluding with the chilling, brilliant brief science fiction short story and song 'Earth, Incorporated'. As far as the music backing these messages, I would by and large describe it as classic rock with an alternative approach. Classic driving bass supporting acoustic and electric guitars and a vocalist with more of a spoken word approach is the main name of the game here, even if the vocalist does have something of a punk or perhaps post-punk sneer as he makes his points in the songs. This, as well as mood and atmosphere, gave me some subtle associations towards the likes of New Model Army and Wall of Voodoo while listening through this album. I stress the word subtle though, as the music itself isn't all that similar. In addition, Sheehan adds in some elements here and there to extend the landscapes explored. Brass details pulled from both soul and jazz, some typical world music instruments are brought in to establish a different atmosphere on certain songs, and Sheehan also goes full hard rock and jazzrock on occasion here. The previously mentioned concluding track goes just about full electronic, and there's also a subtle presence of psychedelic elements here and there. But mainly classic rock I'd say, but explored in an alternative manner. For my sake and my taste in music, I didn't get the feeling that this is a classic album as such. The music will probably have a rather wide appeal however, especially among people who appreciate a concept album sharply critical about capitalism and the consumer society. The total conceptual experience is the selling point here in my opinion.
Conclusion. As I do write for a mainly progressive rock oriented website, I don't think this album will have a strong appeal among people with a defined taste mainly for progressive rock. But for those who love and treasure concept albums, and those critical of modern capitalism in particular, this CD might be regarded as something of a gem. In particular if an alternative and somewhat eclectic take on classic rock as the musical backbone to such a venture sounds appealing.
Progmessor: June 2020
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