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Spocks Beard - 1999 Day For Night

ARTIST: Spocks Beard
ALBUM: Day For Night
LABEL: Inside Out
SERIAL: IOMCD 034, 085-31392 CD
YEAR: 1999
CD REISSUE: 2007, Radiant Records, 3984-14646-2


LINEUP: Neal Morse - lead vocals, piano, all synths, acoustic guitar *Alan Morse - electric guitar, mellotron, vocals * Dave Meros - bass, vocals * Ryo Okumoto - hammond organ, mellotron * Nick D'Virgilio - drums, vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Day For Night * 02 Gibberish * 03 Skin * 04 Distance To The Sun * 05 Crack The Big Sky * 06 Gypsy * 07 Can't Get It Wrong * 08 Healing Colors of Sound Pt. 1 * 09 My Shoes * 10 Mommy Comes Back * 11 Lay It Down * 12 Healing Sounds of Colors Pt. 2 * 13 My Shoes (Revisited) * 14 Untitled Hidden Track


Spock's Beard are fast becoming a prog rock institution. After three top-notch albums ('The Light', 'Beware of Darkness' and 'The Kindness of Strangers') how could they possibly keep up the quality of material they release? Their fourth album, 'Day For Night' is easily as good as its predecessors, leading me to believe that mainman Neal Morse can write these tunes in his sleep. This album is packed full of the usual Spock's Beard time signatures and harmony vocals. They make it look so easy!

The Songs
The album's opener, the title track, gets things underway with Yes style time signatures, cool harmony vocals and chiming guitars. Good enough, but after this, things really start to kick in. 'Gibberish' is as inane as the title suggests. With its multi-layered vocal featuring Neal, Alan, Nick and Dave singing 'all that is shall be in the world is all in the world is all shall be' in an a cappella style, this is a dead ringer for Gentle Giant. I'm sure Spock's Beard provide plenty of entertainment for fans of that largely ignored band. Things then (temporarily) become more accessible with first single 'Skin' written in a 4/4 time signature - not typical for The Beard - and the acoustic based 'Distance to the Sun', on which Neal Morse's vocals are Kevin Gilbert-esque. This definitely shows a slightly more accessible side to the band, as does 'Can't Get It Wrong', with it's slight AOR feel. I can imagine Tommy Shaw singing this one. The intro to 'Crack The Big Sky' shows the bands jazz influences, with some Stanley Clarke inspired fretless basswork from Dave Meros, followed by handclaps and a guitar riff stolen from 'Led Boots', one of Jeff Beck's jazz-rock works. The vocal arrangement here is very much like Billy Sherwood. The second half of the album is taken up by the 23-minute epic 'The Healing Colors Of Sound', resplendent with all of Spock's Beard's favourite musical tricks - the kooky jazz time signatures, cool vocal harmonies and unpredictable stops. The high points here include the smooth 'My Shoes', with an instantly catchy chorus which will have you singing for days, and the funky 'Mommy Comes Back', which has an uncharacteristic spiky aggressiveness.

In Summary
In short, this album is another must have release from the mighty Spock's Beard. I can't see it winning the band any new fans, as it breaks very little new music ground. The old fans though, will not be disappointed.

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