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

2019-06-05
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more

2019-04-24
Help MoonJune Bring Great Music to Life – Like many music lovers around the world, we’ve been thrilled and amazed to hear the recordings that have been released by MoonJune from sessions at La Casa Murada in Spain. Such label stalwarts as Mark Wingfield, Markus Reuter, Asaf Sirkis, Tony Levin, Dusan Jevtovic, Vasil Hadzimanov, and many more have gathered in various combinations at the studio to produce some of the most creative music in recent years. Now, label head Leonardo Pavkovic is offering a compilation, La Casa Murada - MoonJune Sessions, Volume One, as a fundraiser for upcoming sessions. » Read more

2019-04-10
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more

2019-03-25
Scott Walker RIP – Noel Scott Engel, better known as Scott Walker, was one of the most intriguing and enigmatic musical figures in the second half of the 20th Century. His strange career started with The Walker Brothers, an American pop group that featured no one named Walker and no brothers. After moving to England in 1965, they had a series of hit singles. Scott's solo work started with Scott in 1967. Starting in the 80s, his work took an increasingly avant-garde turn. » Read more

2019-03-20
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

L'Ensemble Rayé - Quelques Pièces Détachées – The core of L'Ensemble Rayé is Cédric Vuille (guitars, bass, clarinet, keys, ukelele, bandurria, percussion), Jean-20-Huguenin (guitars, mandolin) and Pierre Kaufmann (saxes, clarinets, piano,...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues