Exposé Online banner

Spock's Beard — The Light
(Metal Blade 3984-14181-2, 1995, CD)

by Mike McLatchey, Published 1995-11-01

The Light Cover art

Spock's Beard is a new American group that even before the release of this album has been slated to play at Progfest '95. The band is a quartet led by keys/vocalist Neal Morse and also includes drummer Nick D'Virgilio who was Giraffe's "Phil Collins" at last year's fest. As the story goes, Spock's Beard were about to sign with Magna Carta, and although it didn't happen, it certainly gives you an idea of their sound. All of the musicians have worked with some well-known big label recording artists – Neal Morse with Al Stewart, D'Virgilio with Sheryl Crow and Kevin Gilbert, and bassist Dave Meros with Eric Burdon. Thus the axis revolves around a more accessible progressive styling, somewhat in the vein of Echolyn or Magellan yet with a bent towards the mid 70s symphonic progressives – Yes, Genesis, ELP, and Crimson. As with Echolyn, there is a combination of two stylings here – the first, a very complex symphonic rock with time and key changes to make the Änglagård fan drool; and the second, a Beatle-esque, 10cc, or Rundgren influenced art-pop that doesn't always seem to fit right with the other style. While there are four long tracks, there seems to be an even spread between these two leanings, a track can go from dramatic symphonic rock with impressive Hammond and choral Mellotrons to "I Am the Walrus" like vocal parts. While this will certainly go over well with more neo-progressive oriented fans, I found it maybe slightly distracting. The lyrics can be quite good as well, although the anthemic obscenities on the third track ("...Fuck You!" ending many of the vocal phrases) that maybe arguably work will certainly lose some potential listeners (or labels). Overall, this is still a hell of a debut with a lot of creativity and a good total sound. I think the more adventurous listeners may not be left fully satisfied due to the vocals (more the verse / chorus stylings than the actual tone) but most should find more than enough good music here.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 8, 1995 releases

Related artist(s): Spock's Beard, Neal Morse, Nick D'Virgilio (NDV)

Latest news

2018-11-16
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

2018-11-02
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

2018-10-17
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

2018-09-29
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

2018-09-25
Help the Psychic Equalizer Avoid Extinction – Last year we reviewed the debut album by Psychic Equalizer, a musical project of Hugo Selles. He's now working on the ambitious follow-up to that release, and is seeking funding from listeners around the world. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Djam Karet - The Ritual Continues – Imagine a sound with the force and power of mid-period King Crimson, the fluidity and spaciness of Pink Floyd, and the percussive power of Peter Gabriel's Security. Throw into that mix a generous...  (1993) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues