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(52:23; Mill Hill Productions)
TRACK LIST: 1. Thee Who Emerge at Dawn 6:09 2. Clairvoyant 10:38 3. Quantum Suicide 6:40 4. Cyclopes and Pine Trees 8:05 5. End of the Tracks 8:11 6. Intergalactic Explorations 12:40 LINEUP: Peter Pedersen - guitars Leo Lindberg - organ Kristian Brink - saxophone Simon Svard - guitars Fredrik Olsson - guitars Lars Ekman - bass Fredrik Bjorling - drums
Prolusion. Swedish band POCKET SIZE have been a presence in the Swedish progressive rock scene since 2010, with composer and musician Peter Pedersen as the main man from what I understand and with a number of different musicians involved over the years and the five albums they have to their name so far. Their most recent album is called "Immortality: Cleaning the Mirror Vol. 2" and was released towards the tail end of 2018 through the label Hill Mill Productions.
Analysis. Pocket Size describe themselves as a psychedelic/experimental/progressive band, but as of 2018 my impression is that at least the psychedelic merits to be toned down ever so slightly, as the music they deliver on this occasion doesn't really move in that particular direction. The music has a strong vintage sheen to it though, but moving in a rather different direction altogether. I gather that the greater majority of the material on this album are live material, and from the sound of it mainly improvised at that. Opening cut 'Thee Who Emerge at Dawn' exemplifies that quite nicely, with loose searching passages with a jazz and psychedelic touch to them alternating with tight, concise sections of vintage era heavy jazz-oriented progressive rock. And it is this latter element that dominates the rest of this album. That the saxophone is given a lot of space for overlays and solo runs is to be expected in this context, but the jazz-oriented impulses on this occasion stretch a bit beyond that as well. Sharp, psychedelic tinged guitar solo runs and details are present, albeit not in a major way, but vintage blues-laden guitar solo runs and wandering, plucked tight jazz-oriented solo runs can be found aplenty on this album, and most often in the same song too. Alternating with each other, the saxophone and a bubbly vintage sounding organ that also gets a lot of limelight. The songs themselves comes in two varieties, one type that ebb, move and flow, while the other establish a set groove for the instrumentalists to play upon with their varying solo runs. The greater majority with a vintage hard progressive rock backbone, some with a more loose and careful overall approach. Blues-laden elements and details is a part of this totality, but the broader and general context resides quite a bit inside the jazz-rock universe, at least as I experience this album. That being said, this is a tight band well aware of what they want to accomplish, and if they do so by improvising in part or in full or not at all isn't all that important. The end result is tight and compelling, with a strong orientation towards vintage 70's progressive rock of the kind that flirted rather tightly with the jazz universe while retaining the progressive rock foundations.
Conclusion. If you desire to listen to a quality band looking back in time for inspiration, and have a tendency to blend hard vintage progressive rock with bits and pieces borrowed from the jazz universe, this latest album by Pocket Size merits an inspection. Especially if you prefer music of this specific kind to be instrumental.
Progmessor: June 28th 2019
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