After releasing ten impressive studio albums, and with their last release called X having some major contributions from Nick D’Virgilio in the musicianship department but not in the song writing stakes, you might be right in thinking that Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep would suffer from a moderate line-up change as D’Virgilio moves to pastures new. They have recruited vocalist and guitarist Ted Leonard known for his work with Enchant and Thought Chamber and long-serving live drummer Jimmy Keegan to the ranks, to bring back some stability.
The arena of progressive rock brings with it high standards of playing and arrangements, songs that can easily drift into substantial lengths and often lyrical extravagance! All of these boxes receive a tick as the opening three songs don’t fall under seven minutes, and the final track Waiting for Me is an epic conclusion reaching out across the ocean for about 12 and a half minutes. Abstract lyrics about finding a garden and generally trying to remain anonymous in Hiding Out are typical throughout. As for the musicianship, joining the new guy Leonard are such established talents as the mainstay Alan Morse; Dave Meros on bass; Ryo Okumoto on synths, Mellotron, organ and many other wonderful instruments, and Neal Morse pops up with some song writing credits on Afterthoughts and the aforementioned Waiting for Me.
For newcomers, stick your proverbial toes in the water by listening to the promotional song Submerged which should provide a significant insight. For those of you who enjoy a good quality companion video, such a thing exists for this song. If you’re already familiar with Spock’s Beard, then this album shouldn’t disappoint. Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep sounds fresh and confident within its panorama and so it should with the quality of musicians on board. With a total of seven songs to wrap your ears around, there’s plenty to enjoy.
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