Active Heed — Visions from Realities
((Not on label) no#, 2013, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2013-10-10It's been a while since an album struck me so divergently as Active Heed's full-length debut. The opening track, "Flying Like a Fly," while sonically pleasant to listen to, has lyrics that at first seemed like really awkward English written by a non-native speaker. "Flying like a fly / Like if it was my very first flight, / Floating on the floor / In this sunny day." Then I was strongly reminded of Flight of the Conchords — as a parody of pretentious prog-rock lyrics, it works pretty well. The problem with that theory is that on the whole, Visions from Reality seems like a serious work, which puts me back to the first impression. Setting aside the lyrics for a moment, the music is melodic and varied enough to avoid stagnation, with all the players acquitting themselves admirably. Acoustic guitar forms the base of most of the songs, sometimes lending an jangly mood reminiscent of R.E.M., sometimes leaning more to the Classical nylon-string sound. Umberto Pagnini's compositions are nicely arranged by Lorenzo Poli, who handles a lot of the instruments himself; Pellek (Per Fredrik Åsly) contributes the lead vocals; others handle drums and backing vocals. Pellek has a very nice voice, strong when it needs to be, delicate when that's called for, and his accented pronunciation only occasionally mars the listener's experience. The vocal lines are often very "composerly" — giving the impression of having been written on paper without too much consideration of how they would sound in performance: the accents often come at very awkward places in the phrases, and many parts include rapid rhythms that Pellek struggles to keep up with. But don't let these factors deter you — if you're a fan of melodic symphonic prog without rough edges, this is a very enjoyable set of music, an admirable accomplishment.
Related artist(s): Active Heed
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more
Eurock Documentary Seeks Funding – We've been fans and fellow travelers with Archie Patterson and his Eurock project on the journey to discover great music. After many years of promoting and trying to spread the word,a new phase is beginning: a documentary film. Things like this don't just happen, and money does not magically appear to make it happen, so it's up to the fans to get it done. » Read more
Marty Balin RIP – One of the architects of the 60s psychedelic sound of San Francisco has died at the age of 76. Marty Balin was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane. After the split of the original Airplane, Balin went on to form the highly successful Jefferson Starship. » Read more