Band: Spock’s Beard
Label: InsideOut Records (2018)
Rating: Who put that new Kansas album on?
Hey, everyone is entitled to have “slow day.” For the much heralded Spock’s Beard I would suggest Noise Floor is what I would call a slow day. While Spock’s Beard are one of my top ten favorite Prog bands, I don’t mind telling you Noise Floor is not my favorite Beard album, not by a long shot, but then musicians have all kinds of music inside them that needs to get out. Coming off what I thought was the brilliant Oblivian Particle Noise Floor kind of pales. Now then, for the record this is not a “bad” album by any stretch of the imagination: it’s well played, well produced and features some really catchy tunes. But perhaps the biggest hurdle for me was simply getting over the fact that Noise Floor sounds more like a new Kansas album than it does Spock’s Beard. Particularly in the vocal department. Sorry, that’s just me. The promo material says something about crafting music that is “more immediate” as part of the band’s “evolution” but if memory serves they’ve already tried this few times such as Octane and even Feel Euphoria, so I’m puzzled other than to recognize that not every album is going to be filled with winning compositions. But enough of that. As to what's here, well, there’s over the sixty-eight minutes of music which includes eight compositions proper and four bonus tracks with songs that range anywhere from five to eight minutes and incorporate a goodly number of Spock’s Beard trademarks, enough to hopefully satisfy long-term fans and hopefully some newbies. There is a pretty upbeat vibe here, even with the acoustic ballady tunes so as a result drama and tension are put on the back burner and maybe that’s what I missed most. Noise Floor sounds great for what it is, but I really missed the bigness, the grand scale compositions that make all the smaller intricate bits meaningful. I sincerely hope given its “more immediate” approach they pick up a bunch more fans. For me I’ll keep listening to the last few studio albums. Oh and did I mention how they sound like Kansas?