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splendid > reviews > 11/15/2004
Dreadnaught
Dreadnaught
Musica En Flagrante
Big Balloon Music / Red Fez


Format Reviewed: CD

Soundclip: "The Boston Crab"

Buy me now
Dreadnaught's brand of instrumental prog is a thankfully modern blend. The screwy time signatures, song suites and ace musicianship are here, but the goblins, misty mountaintops and mystical overtones that characterize so much "classic" prog have been foresworn. This is prog for guys with girlfriends. On the band's fourth full-length, bassist Bob Lord remains the ringleader; no matter what else is going on, Lord's basslines are the pivotal focus. Like a mix o Mike Watt and Yes's Chris Squire, he's bold, dexterous and unafraid of his instrument's upper register. Even when some of the high notes he hits sound a bit thin and buzzy, you'll forgive him, because he's pushing his axe to the limit.

Of course, there are plenty of other things going on here, including the keys, guitar and programming also manned by Lord. Justin Walton's Rhodes imbues both "Elba" and "Threnody for the Victims of Brother Theodore" with a foggy calm, though the latter eventually combusts into a symphonic string-lead jam session. "The Boston Crab" jerkily rocks out like prime 5ive Style, while "Gulf of Tonkin" updates the "progabilly" sound Dreadnaught coined and founded on 2001's The American Standard. The only track that really breaks up Musica En Flagrante's intertwining flow is the mad piano banging of "Kazak, the Hound of Space" -- okay, maybe these guys don't have girlfriends. Not steady ones, anyway.



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