Spock’s Beard: X

  • Artist / Title: Spocks’ Beard: X
  • Month Reviewed: October 2010
  • Format: CD

10th studio album from this US band (I wonder how they came up with the album title?!) and quite possibly their best. Having said that, it took a good few spins to come to that conclusion.

Featuring 5 tracks, some very lengthy indeed, the album kicks off with Edge of the In Between, a quality prog track with some stupendous guitar work from Mr Alan Morse. In fact, he steals this album – his playing is brilliant throughout.

Every track is worthy of repeated listening, but the stand-out – and it does stand out by quite some margin – is the last track, the phenomenal 16 minutes of Jaws of Heaven. This is prog heaven, and then some. It builds up to a monumental string orchestra climax at the 9 minute mark and, just when you think it’s all over, it pops back in again with a great melody and a stunning conclusion. Oh, and the guitar playing is genius, too. This track is on constant repeat in the car. Outstanding.

Another of my favourites is the track Their Names Escape Me. This is a killer track which, towards the end, features Nick singing the names of all the people who ordered the special edition. It should be a complete and utter cheesy disaster, but it works amazingly well, supported by some great music.

In conclusion, this is the best album by the band since the departure of Neal and is highly and unreservedly recommended.

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