Spock's Beard - Noise Floor: Album Review
Words: Anthony Firmin
Having formed back in ’92, Spock’s Beard have produced a fine body of work over the years with this, Noise Floor, being their 13th release. The band have an interesting history too with founder Neal Morse having been part of the band in it’s early years.
The band are certainly at the forefront of the current modern progressive rock music and this album continues that trend very well but offers little new with a sound that is for the most part stuck in the past.
The songs are covered in that classic Kansas organ sound, waves of mournful mellotron and loads of synth runs. The rhythm section is solid with Dave Meros bass lines distinct throughout but sounding similar to Gentle Giant much of the time. And there is plenty of guitar wankery too, if that is your thing.
Noise Floor is made up of two discs; on the main disc all the songs have that classic prog sound but nothing grabs you, Have We All Gone Crazy Yet needs to be more upbeat, it feels far too contrained, and Beginnings has some great build up. I am struggling to say much about it, it is fine as far as it goes but it just doesn’t grab me. However, what comes next is far more interesting.
The second disc, Cutting Room Floor, is much shorter at just 18 minutes and comprises of four songs with no fluff, all nice and concise, and they are an absolute joy to listen to. Bulletproof is undoubtedly the best track on the album – it is simple and is easy on the ear; the last track, Armageddon Nervous is an instrumental and has much more of a modern sound, they are trying something different and it works well. Sometimes less is more and that is certainly the case here.
Existing fans are going to love this album but it is unlikely to appeal to others, but if prog is your thing it may well be worth dipping into.
Spock’s Beard play Manchester’s Club Academy on 10th December – tickets available from the usual outlets.