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Still Life

Artist Still Life
Title Still Life
Release Date 2018-08-27
Genre Rock > Rock > Prog Rock / Art Rock
Copyright © Akarma Records

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Fine darkly weird and heavy prog rock, Hammond organ burner

Still Life are one of those progressive bands that basically stick to rock. There is not a lot of "out" experimenting or anything strikingly inventive on this album

But the band insert long keyboard jams into what could be merely heavy rock songs, and dammed if it doesn't charmingly work. Part of this is the singer: he has a pretty soulful voice, deep and heavy, and when the organ work gets a little generic--you know those prog bands that can play but just don't take it anywhere interesting-his singing comes back in and carries you home

Their strengths: for keyboard-dominated rock, they manage to rock and squeeze some pretty wicked sounds out of the organ that plays most of the lead parts and solos. The vocals can be good--one of the voices has a pretty thick British soul sound that blends well with the vaguely progressive style of music that the band constructs. Unfortunately, the glimmerings of promise that pop up throughout the album are far too often overshadowed by an overwhelming lack of focus. The band never seems like it really knows what it's trying to say--musically or lyrically. "People in Black" is a confused attempt at satire directed against social movements, but there's no clear point. If the lyrics and themes were stronger, the over-the-top vocal arrangement (think the strained lead vocals from Green Day harmonized with screeching falsetto) might work, but it just sounds ridiculous here. "Don't Go" is nearly an emotionally soulful plea, but again just doesn't make much sense. "October Witches" is probably the only track on the album that I really think is great, with a well-constructed chant-like chorus and a pretty sweet soul/prog sound. "Love Song No. 6," in addition to having a pathetically self-satisfied title, is an anti-love song full of sentiments that are pretty tough to find compelling or sympathetic, full of more ridiculous vocals. "Dreams" is a song about dreams that really doesn't say anything meaningful that hasn't been said better by another artist (plus, if I hear another band force a rhyme between "dreams" and "schemes," I might be sick) and is full of lame pseudo-dream imagery. The last track, "Time," is plagued by the same problems as the rest of the disc--in fact, I think with every song on this album, there was a point where I asked myself "Why is this still going on? This doesn't need to be 8 minutes long."
Sure, it isn't a perfectly polished album; it's the only album the band ever released, so it is not like they were able to refine their sound over time. Regardless, the result is a wonderful look into the obscure progressive rock of the early 70s.


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