ProgressoR / Uzbekistan Progressive Rock Pages


District 97 - 2019 - “Screens”

(49:08; Mindscan Records)


This is the second album from the Texas-based progressive rock group, only some fourteen years after the debut. I have no idea what has happened in the intervening years but the core of the band has stayed the same with Mick Peters (vocals, Chapman stick, bass, pedals, guitars), Ted Thomas (vocals, drums, percussion, synthesizer) and Joe Funk (guitars, synthesizer). Thad Miller (synthesizer) who played on the first album here only features on one track and has been replaced by Bruce McIntosh (piano, organ, synthesizer) who plays on the rest, plus there are a few guests. Here we have a band who are taking the classic influences of Pink Floyd, Gentle Giant, King Crimson and Camel and combining them into something which feels fresh and inviting. There is a power here, a real depth to the music as it swirls and combines. The real joy of this is one is never really sure where it is going to be lead as the path has many branches and they are taken at will, sometime coming back to the main route, others finding a new way, while at others just going around to take you back to where you started. The use of different instruments to provide the bassline allows the music to mutate gracefully and with ease, while Thomas is obviously at home playing anything but a standard rock pattern, which again brings us closer to the Seventies. But the songs and arrangements are modern, with great vocals (there are three different lead singers on the album, as Rick Clark guests on “Walk on Water”). There is huge variety on the album as they bring their influences to bear, and the more attention and time the listener gives to it the more they will get out of it. I can only hope it isn’t fourteen years until the next one.

Progtector: April 2020

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