November — The First of November
(SI Music Simply 59, 1994, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 1995-03-01Thirty seconds into the first cut you'll swear you're listening to some lost Peter Gabriel album from around 1980. This track, "Africa, Where Are You," has all of the phrasing and style down pat, complete with percussion and vocal style. It's not until the second track that you are reassured with more of the typical neo-progressive sounds that one might expect from a Dutch four-piece on said label — recalling elements of all of the usual people: Marillion, IQ, Jadis, Landmarq and the rest — you know 'em all. Successive tracks blend these two basic elements (neo-prog and Security-era Gabriel) into a more commercial style that is in fact quite good for what it is. Aside from the obvious lack of originality that plagues most of this kind of music, the songs are very well written and arranged, with bright melodic passages, clean keyboard solos, an occasional syncopated beat, and minimal instrumental clutter, all fronted by Karel Messemaker's confident vocals. Most of the music here is radio-ready pop, full of hooks and catchy melodies — certainly not prog, yet if all pop was this well done I might turn on the radio more often. November is too stylistically incestuous to call original, yet the music still asserts its strength and shines through this weakness on better tracks like "The Pilgrim," "Clown's Overture," or "Lion Eyes." Overall, for neo/pop — and especially for a first album, this is a pretty good effort. Recommended for fans of Jadis, Egdon Heath, Sinister Street, Pallas, and the like.
Related artist(s): November
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more
Holger Czukay RIP – Holger Czukay, a musical experimentalist without boundaries who has been involved with expanding the sound palette of rock music since the late 60s, has died at the age of 79. After studying with Karlheinz Stockhausen in the early 60s, he became fascinated with the possibilities of rock music, and was a co-founder of the pioneering group Can. He leaves behind an impressive body of work both as musician and producer. » Read more
John Abercrombie RIP – Another of the greats of jazz guitar has left us. John Abercrombie plied his way through a beautiful series of albums on the ECM label as well as bringing his talent to bear on albums by many of jazz's greatest artists. From his early work in the group Dreams to Gateway and outstanding work with Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Wheeler, and many more to his own trios and quartets, he brought a unique instrumental voice to the world. » Read more