(All Album Reviews by Boceephus)
Line-up / Musicians
- Mark Lavallee / drums
- Fred Hunter / keyboards, bass
- Francisco Neto / guitar, guitar synth
- Jeff McFarland / vocals, acoustic guitar
There is a reason you’ll see "SUGGESTION" under this album title in Prog Archives. It's a gem. Closer to 5 stars simply because it stands as a unique piece among all the other groups attempting to do something creative and unusual and still sounding a bit too much like their influences. Lands End don't wear their heroes on their sleeves.
Jeff McFarland has one of the most emotive, natural sounding voices I've heard in the newer generation. I don't tire of listening to him and his scathing lyrics regarding America and democracy ring with anguish and defiance. Powerful messages that convey a sense of loss and bitterness.
Fred Hunter's keyboard work is the centerpiece of the sound, weaving ambient passages with fluttering synth lines and patches that fit the tunes like a glove. Fransico Neto seems at home on a nylon acoustic, synth or electric guitar. Some of the funky wah wah chordal parts at first sounded "out of place" on the first listen, but seemed perfect over time. The two soloists weave tight leads about, over and under creating a sonic web that encircles your mind. Perfect mind journey music. Neto's nylon string work really stands out and adds some world flavor to the music. Well done!
The bass work is handled by Fred Hunter as well. Solid and grooving, no bass solos here, but basic support of the songs. This may be one instance where some syrupy fretless could have elevated the overall picture, but that's just my quirk. Fred just keeps things moving. Drummer Mark Lavallee plays with finesse and verve, keeping these longish tunes from becoming too heavy and plodding.
My favorite track is “My Home”, a piece about the dream of America becoming corrupted and losing it's allure. A small part of the tune “Natural Selection” was recorded using two mics in a living room. A impromptu German Language piece flows within the syncopated drumming of Lavallee. At first I'd thought there was some problem with my EQ, but soon figured it out. The CD sleeve is my only complaint. It's hard to read the print, though the artwork matches the mood of the music. The insert under the CD case is nearly illegible through the plastic.
All in all an excellent addition to any progressive rock collection.