Lands End — The Lower Depths
(Cyclops CYCL142D, 2005, 2CD)
by Paul Hightower, Published 2007-03-01
Remember Lands End? They were part of the 90s West Coast prog revival, though it’s been eight years since their last release, Natural Selection. Now they’re back with a double-disk set that’s a bit of a mystery. Disk two gathers the original quartet together for what I understand is a fine collection of tracks (I was not provided this disk for my review), even if the recorded parts have been cobbled together over time and distance. For me disk one is almost of greater interest. Original members Jeff McFarland (vocals and guitars), Fred Hunter (keys, bass, guitar, etc.), and Mark Lavallee (drums) appear, augmented by Cathy Alexander (The Morrigan) who lends ethereal and wispy vocal to the two epics “Digital Signatures” and “A New World Order.” Furthermore, guitarist Francesco Neto is largely absent, his duties being assumed by label-mates Bruce Soord (Pineapple Thief) and Steve Anderson (Sphere3 / GLD). A more streamlined and ear-friendly approach is taken on several songs, perhaps best seen in the superb “Why Should I,” that excels through its economy and melodic punch. A wistful mood pervades the entire disk, even when the symphonic prog (graced by Hunter’s demonstrative synths) gets ratcheted up, though here too the writing is excellent and the performances heartfelt. Does this set of songs close the door on Lands End or point the way toward their future? Hard to tell, though the music is easily recommended to sympho- neo-prog fans.
Related artist(s): Lands End
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more