(All Album Reviews by Windhawk)
John Mabry (vocals, guitar)
Brett Barnett (keyboards, vocals)
Paul Harrison (bass)
Greg Miller (drums)
Bill Estes (guitar)
Mind Furniture is a US-based band, who released their debut album in 2000. Hoop of Flame is their second production, released by French record label Musea Records in November 2007.
In terms of style, this CD is an eclectic one, although mostly staying well within the parameters of what is called progressive rock. Several tunes show an influence from Rush, with melodic but staccato riff patterns in a manner quite close to these Canadian legends, even with some leanings towards funk in places. On the other hand, layered guitars with atmospheric soloing on top of 70's tinged hard rock riffs supported by acoustic guitar licks is another facet here. Add in some organ work on these particular tunes as well and a name like Uriah Heep will come to mind. A third brand of compositions are more mellow in approach, often acoustic guitars and piano as the driving instruments and with floating, symphonic synth patterns adding texture to the melody, quite close in style to what bands like Marillion produced in the mid eighties.
These mixed styles are explored in a total of two compositions, each of them lasting for more than 20 minutes and in both cases these songs are divided into 5 different parts as well. In most cases these segments are well thought out, high on intensity and atmosphere and the eclectic listener will find much to take pleasure in on this release. Especially the title track "Hoop of Flame" is a high-class creation, with many compelling moments.
This album is one to be sought out by listeners with a broad taste in music. If Marillion and Uriah Heep both are among the bands you appreciate then there's a good chance that this one will be to your liking.
My rating: 76/100
Reviewer: Olav Björnsen