(All Album Reviews by jlneudorf)
This is my first exposure to Dan Cowan, otherwise known as Dyonisos. I have heard much about the artist but until now have not heard his music. Apparently, one of the common perceptions is how much some of his music sounds like Pink Floyd, although not so much his latest release Ages High. To these ears, the Floyd comparison is very accurate, and in a moment I will tell you why.
There is no doubting Cowan’s talent as a musician as he tackles pretty much everything himself. The good thing is this does not sound like a one man band as he produces a full and well rounded sound. The album begins with the up tempo “Aces High” which sounds like it could have come from Division Bell era Floyd. From the vocals to the guitar, this has David Gilmour written all over it. The melodic guitar and stark piano that is “Charity” again strike a resemblance to Floyd, especially the vocals during the chorus. I am not going to sit here and tell you this is the most original music you will ever here because it isn’t. Is this music derivative? Perhaps it is. Even so, this was still an enjoyable listen, mostly due to Cowan’s excellent guitar playing throughout the album and the obvious nods to Pink Floyd. More Floyd comparisons can be made with “Portal to Evermore”, especially the use of distant and slightly fading background vocals. The first track that doesn’t remind me of Floyd is the catchy “The Source”, a straightforward melodic rock song built on solid song writing and Cowan’s electric guitar.
It is not all good, as my esteemed colleagues above have pointed out. The protest song “Gee Dubyr Bush” is plain silly and does not fit in with the rest of the CD. If you want to listen to a protest song try something from Neil Young’s Living With War. The epic thirteen-minute “Cryptograms” works in places but the spoken word segment is very distracting to the overall flow of the song. At times it feels a little too choppy, as some of the segments do not flow together smoothly.
That being said, there is still plenty of music I enjoyed and Cowan’s guitar playing is absolutely superb in places. This is a solid rock album with just enough proggy overtones to keep me satisfied. Listen to some samples and decide for yourself.
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Rating: 7 Stars