Always Almost: God Pounds His Nails (CD, 69:31);
Pleasant Green Records PL GR002.
This sophomore effort by the Artists Formerly Known As Still, and about two thirds of Echolyn before that, is pleasant enough if accepted on its own terms.
Their virtues are most clearly displayed in the four-minute opener, "Pretty Fine Day." We're referring here to Ray Weston's strong vocals, some Beatles-flavored guitar work by Brett Kull invoking prime George Harrison, a fine melodic sense, and inventiveness in the arrangement. Elsewhere, we hear nods to Led Zeppelin ("React Me"), Echolyn (especially in the rich complexity of "While I Was Away"), and Gentle Giant. The latter comes to fore in a nine-minute, improvisational cover of "Aspirations."
Most curious are the lyrics to "Tread On," which tell of a "super-duper boundary-pusher 'prog'ing me baby until I'm blue." Might this "iconoclastic concept king" be Chris Buzby, the former Echolyn keyboardist now leading Finneus Gauge? Whether yes or no, it sounds like Always Almost declaring they're only as prog as they wanna be. -David Taylor, staff writer, Progression magazine. [Progression vol 2 #26, 1998]
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