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Spock's Beard (an overall view, USA)

1995 - "The Light"

1996 - "Beware of Darkness"

1998 - "The Kindness of Strangers"

Neal Morse      - vocals, keyboards, guitars
Alan Morse      - guitars, cellos
Nick D'Virgilio - drums
Dave Meros      - bass
Ryo Okumoto     - keyboards

The band has started as quartet, next year Okumoto joined it,
and on the last album an original bassist was replaced.

Talking of some sort of Beard of someone named Spock, it is (boring, but) necessary to recognize that this new American band led by vocalist/keysman Neal Morse has joined British Classic Rock Society (also read of it in the review on Flower Kings' "Retropolis" of 1996), as well as established Neo-Prog lable "Giant Electric Pea" owned by IQ. At first I was quite impressed by their debut, in spite of obvious "presence" of Gentle Giant's spirit. But very soon this heady first impression has melted away, and the album containing exceptionally long compositions (sometimes over 20 minutes, as in case of the titletrack) simply became boring. So, "The Light" was well performed, and it is not Neo, but with the mostly text-based overall conception and the way instrumental arrangements are made is almost free of any originality, this is no more than a pretty decent Progressive album.

When next year this Spock, whose that Beard, joined that specific Classic Rock Society, I was not a bit surprised. And the following (his? his Beard's?) album, unlike Xitizen Cain (see "X" in both sections), just shows that these guys wanna be another, more accessible copy of so famous Gentle Giant, because they, having very few original ideas of their own, open works with such familiar structures, and so actively, but not so effectively. Just listen to the second track: it turned out to be possible, making a Clone, to have as a result just a degenerate. The "rockish" cover of one of George Harrison's songs is even better (maybe exactly because it is a legal cover-version?).

Back to Classic (!) Rock Society: undoubtedly, their activities are often necessary for Prog-novices as a starting stage, but their long Title does not correspond to reality, as well as their arrogance, when albums made by Arena, the founders of Society, are described by the band on the titlepages of booklets not otherwise as "A Classic to the Future", because we all know that this is just "headquarters" of good Neos, and melodies with accessibility are the MAIN factor in order to join that Society. And even the best bands, albums, etc., declared by themselves every year, do not always correspond to reality even within the framework of their Society. More details? Please, read the review on Flower Kings' "Retropolis" in "F" section of "Short Reviews".

Summary. So... Who am I talking about? O-oh! Well, Beard - third... These are not rhyming words!? Because, if after the second album the Beard of that peasant got slightly thinner, with the third album Spock simply shaved it, so tired from shallow comparisons: who (he, Spock) or what (his Beard) is a chief thing here, in the title of the band. Now his chin is open (poppy), and there are no place (no "quirky" Beard!) for complication. Just the title remains the same... content

VM. 30.11.1998


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