Exposé Online banner

Mark McDowell and Friends — Breakthrough
(Fruits de Mer Friends of the Fish 36, 2020, CD / LP / DL)

by Henry Schneider, Published 2020-08-17

Breakthrough Cover art

It truly is a beautiful day when you listen to Breakthrough, the new album by Mark McDowell and Friends. Golden sun flakes dapple the ground as you gambol through fields of sun-blossomed flowers. Breakthrough straddles the decades, combining elements of The Moody Blues On the Threshold of a Dream era prog, jangling guitars, raga rock, and neo-psych. Plus there is a bit of space tock on “Starstreamer” as it speeds through the cosmos, leaving a trail of pixie dust behind. There is not a weak moment on the disc, with the highpoints being “People Like Us,” “Breakthrough,” “Starstreamer,” and “Wedding Song.” I was thrown off a bit by “De Facto (Ode to Arthur Lee),” expecting an homage to Love, but nothing in this song remotely communicates Love to me. Instead Mark and his friends perform an excellent psych rock jam with a trippy organ accompaniment. This album is perfect for blissful relaxation and basking in the sunshine of a bygone afternoon. We all need something like this in today’s uncertain world.

Filed under: New releases, 2020 releases

Related artist(s): Mark McDowell

More info

Latest news

New Aristocrats Live Album on the Way – No foolin'! These supreme musicians toured Europe early in 2020, just before touring ceased to be a thing musicians could do, and there were some hot performances captured. On May 7, some of these will be releases as Freeze! Live in Europe 2020. » Read more

Return of Jerry Lucky's Progressive Rock Files – After much consideration and surprisingly, positive feedback, Jerry Lucky is announcing the launch of the progressive Rock Files podcast, featuring the latest progressive rock music from around the world. » Read more

Jewlia Eisenberg RIP – The sad news has come out that Jewlia Eisenberg has died. As a founding member of Charming Hostess, Eisenberg changed the face of music, bringing together Balkan klezmer, American folk, and experimental rock in a distinctive blend that garnered much praise. » Read more

RIP Roger Trigaux – The sad news has come to our attention that Roger Trigaux, the guiding force of Present and former member of Univers Zero, passed away on the evening of March 10, 2021 after a long ilness. » Read more

SoundQuest Fest 2021 – SoundQuest Fest, first experienced as a live festival in Tucson Arizona in 2010 was created by ambient music pioneer Steve Roach. This 2021 event will unite a worldwide gathering of artists and audience members together for a 3-day online event unique in the realm of ambient music. From March 26-28th a continuous flow of streamed performances, audio-video wonder worlds and deep immersion zones will burn bright on Roach’s YouTube channel. » Read more

Previously in Exposé...

Hectic Watermelon - The Great American Road Trip – Hectic Watermelon is less a band than a solo project built around the talents of guitarist John Czajkowski. For this album he's assembled a capable trio to back him that includes bass (Harley...  (2008) » Read more

Listen & discover

Print issues