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Articles Home » 2008 Articles » Presto Ballet - 2008 The Lost Art Of Time Travel
Presto Ballet - 2008 The Lost Art Of Time Travel

ARTIST: Presto Ballet
ALBUM: The Lost Art Of Time Travel
LABEL: Prog Rock Records, SPV/Steamhammer
SERIAL: PRR560, SPV 452612 CD
YEAR: 2008


LINEUP: Scott Albright - lead vocals, acoustic guitar * Kurdt Vanderhoof - guitars, mellotron, chamberlin, hammond organ, synths, bass pedals, electric pianos * Izzy Rehaume - bass * Ryan McPherson - keyboards * Bill Raymond - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 The Mind Machine * 02 Thieves * 03 You're Alive * 04 One Tragedy At A Time * 05 I'm Not Blind * 06 Easy Tomorrow * 07 Haze



Presto Ballet, for those not familiar with the band, is the side project of guitarist Kurdt Vanderhoof, better known as the main man in Californian metallers Metal Church. Vanderhoof did have his own band project back in 2002, simply called Vanderhoof. Releasing one album for SPV 'A Blur In Time', this outfit morphed into Presto Ballet, and by 2005, the band had taken on a pomp rock personality, with 'Peace Among The Ruins' being one of the best albums of that year. Despite a couple of Metal Church albums in between times, Vanderhoof has not lost his passion for pomp/prog rock, despite this latest album being released independently. Having been a vehement fan of the debut, I went in search of 'The Lost Art Of Time Travel' and secured a copy from CD Baby, where the band has been recently selling it.

The Songs
The band has undergone a major backline change, with three new members hooking on, joining Vanderhoof and lead singer Scott Albright. With only the seven songs onboard, you are not short changed with quantity. Four tracks are over nine minutes, two are over six minutes, the remaining track clocking in at a 'brief' four and half minutes. Again, we get the same influences rearing their head again: Kansas, Styx, Yes and Rush. The delicious strains of keys, organs, fluid bass lines along with tempo challenging drumwork will require you to make an appointment for an hour or so.

Opener 'The Mind Machine' melds Kansas and Rush together seamlessly. The rhythm section has a lot of that Lee/Peart combination we remember so well on those late 70's/early 80's Rush albums.

Atmosphere drenched synths lead the way on 'Thieves', it opens the way for a jangly Yes like arrangement. The next passage features heavier guitar lines again with Rush vibe, before the organ/guitar interplay winds us back to Wooden Nickel era Styx. Interesting track.. hmm.. may need to listen to this one again.. and again..

'You're Alive' is the shortest track. It's primarily acoustic, flowing and moves into an orchestral passage through the middle.

The longest track at 14 minutes is 'One Tragedy At A Time'. As expected, it moves through several sections, which includes instrumental parts. Again, the usual suspects can be detected, with a nod to Dream Theaterin places too. This song is worth the price of admission alone!

Starting out subdued is 'I'm Not Blind', though it gradually picks up steam without ever really heading out of mid-tempo mode. A nice enough track nonetheless.

One of the better tracks is the pompous onslaught of 'Easy Tomorrow', which covers numerous styles within. I'm certain that a guy like Steve Walsh would enjoy what's going on with this track!

The closer 'Haze' meanders across a Styx-ian like wind-drift, acoustic in nature for at least the first half of the track. There are some interesting piano and synth change-ups through the middle, while Scott Albright does well to resemble Dennis De Young in place, whether by accident or design.

In Summary
At the time of writing this review, record label Prog Rock Records had stepped up to the plate and now has this CD on their roster - so that is good news for all PB fans. Fans of this genre of rock music will wonder at the temerity of such enthusiasm by Vanderhoof and his colleagues. As has been mentioned many times on this site, pomp/prog rock may well be a dated style, but it doesn't mean that achieving perfection within it should be discouraged. I would rather Kurdt pursue Presto Ballet more so than Metal Church - the latter doesn't need to prove anything further to my way of reckoning. However with PB, there are so much more creative avenues to explore. Let's hope Kurdt does.

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#1 | rkbluez on September 15 2008 01:45:28
Great Album Great Band...this is pomp prog rock at it's finest with many elements of the greats of the 70's like Kansas and Yes...but still retaining an original sound...hope Kurdt carries on with Presto Ballet as I to think they have a lot more great music in them.
#2 | Jez on October 10 2008 14:24:52
Carrying on where the debut 'Peace Among The Ruins' left off, this is a mighty fine slice of Progressive influenced Hard rock, that betters the debut by some margin. The Kansas influence is still there to the fore, so musically, this is pretty awesome and for a self produced album, it sounds huge aswell. Seven high quality tracks ranging from the shorter 4 minute 'You're Alive' to the 14 minute 'One Tragedy At A Time'. Not for everyone, but all the Prog and Kansas fans should, if they haven't already, check this band out immediately.
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