Spock’s Beard is a progressive rock band formed in 1992 in Los Angeles by brothers Neal and Alan Morse. Neal played keyboards and was the lead vocalist, as well as being the primary songwriter before leaving the band in 2002 to pursue a solo career. Alan plays electric guitar. The pair teamed with fellow musicians Nick D’Virgilio (drums) and Dave Meros (bass), were later joined by veteran keyboardist Ryo Okumoto.
The band plays a brand of progressive rock with pop music leanings (drawing much influence from Genesis), but have toured with Dream Theater. The band is also well known for their intricate multi-part vocal harmonies (such as those found on certain Gentle Giant songs) and use of counterpoint
Spock’s Beard is the ninth studio album by American progressive rock band Spock’s Beard.
Like its predecessors “”A Guy Named Sid”” (from Feel Euphoria) and “”A Flash Before My Eyes”” (from Octane), the individual sections of “”As Far as the Mind Can See”” are divided into separate tracks on the album.
Media Condition: Near Mint (NM or M-)
Sleeve Condition: Near Mint (NM or M-)
14-Track Advance DJ CD In Cardcover, Mint
“”On a Perfect Day”” (Nick D’Virgilio, Alan Morse, Stan Ausmus, John Boegehold) -“ 7:47
“”Skeletons at the Feast”” (Dave Meros, Boegehold) -“ 6:33
“”Is This Love”” (D’Virgilio) -“ 2:51
“”All That’s Left”” (Meros, Boegehold) -“ 4:45
“”With Your Kiss”” (D’Virgilio) -“ 11:46
“”Sometimes They Stay, Sometimes They Go”” (Meros, Ausmus) -“ 4:31
“”The Slow Crash Landing Man”” (Meros, Boegehold) -“ 5:47
“”Wherever You Stand”” (D’Virgilio, Ryo Okumoto) -“ 5:09
“”Hereafter”” (Okumoto, Boegehold) -“ 5:01
“”As Far as the Mind Can See”” (Meros, Boegehold) -“ 17:10
I. Dreaming in the Age of Answers -“ 4:49
II. Here’s a Man -“ 3:28
III. They Know We Know -“ 3:18
IV. Stream of Unconsciousness -“ 5:23
“”Rearranged”” (D’Virgilio) -“ 6:07
Nick D’Virgilio -“ lead and backing vocals, drums, timpani, percussion, electric and acoustic guitars
Alan Morse -“ electric and acoustic guitars, backing vocals, lead vocals on “”Sometimes They Stay, Sometimes They Go””
Ryo Okumoto -“ keyboards, backing vocals
Dave Meros -“ bass guitar, bass synth, sitar, backing vocals
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Beard In Years!,
I have been an enormous fan of Spock’s Beard for years, and I have been a bit disappointed with the band’s output since the departure of Neal Morse, who seemed to be the creative powerhouse of the band. After one solid album (“”Feel Euphoria””) and one fairly bad album (“”Octane””) since Neal’s departure, I was beginning to wonder if the Beard was still capable of attaining the glory of such albums as “”V”” and “”Snow””. Thankfully, with this self-titled release, the answer is a resounding “”yes!””
I give this album a perfect score, because every second of the the album is just superb. Any fan of modern progressive rock should own this one….this was the most satisfying album in this style I have heard in years. Sophisticated arrangements, complex (yet grooving) interplay between the instruments, and even some wild experimentation with mood and texture that harkens back to the classic SB album “”V””.
Great musicianship, intelligent and emotive lyrics, and phenomenal performances from all band members….it would be perfect, if not for the inexplicable, glaring blemish of the hokey “”Is This Love?””; which just seems so out of context when compared to the rest of the album….every last bit of the rest is compelling, innovative, passionate, and amazing. Awesome! The band has finally gelled into a lean, mean machine. Gentlemen, my hat is off to you!
5.0 out of 5 stars Beard Found,
At last! Spocks Beard has finally gelled as the new Spocks Beard! I’ve been very impressed with this latest release and consider it another step in the right direction. There are some great melodies here along with the great musicianship they are known for. A better piece of work than Octane. The bonus disc with Octane hinted at this new full-blown direction and has landed them fully in control and ready to start giving the audience an unforgettable show. Who needs Neal anyway!?! The Beard have produced the most incredible CD of their career. They can only keep getting better.
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 9th album from the Beard…the best post-Neal album,
Spock’s Beard is the self-titled 9th album from the excellent prog band of the same name (obviously). It’s a fantastic album from start to finish and is easily their best album since Neal Morse left following their masterpiece, 2002’s Snow.
The album kicks off with one of Spock’s Beard’s finest moments, with or without Neal, On a Perfect Day. It’s a mini-epic in its own right with a killer riff, amazing vocals from drummer Nick D’Virgilio, and just all around a fantastic piece. It’s followed by an awesome instrumental, Skeletons At the Feast. Is This Love is short and kind of throwaway, but they come back with a fury with the next tracks: All That’s Left is a bittersweet look at lost love wrapped in an pretty song, With Your Kiss is 11 minutes of prog greatness, and Sometimes They Stay Sometimes They Go is killer…a rockin’ riff with some killer vocals from guitarist Alan Morse. After a couple more excellent songs, we get to the epic of the album, As Far As the Mind Can See…17 minutes of progressive magic split into four sections: Dreaming In the Age of Answers (an overture of sorts with soaring vocals), Here’s a Man, with its spoken word delivery contrasting nicely with the chorus, The Know We Know is the pop-section of the piece, and Stream of Unconciousness (perhaps the title is an homage to friends Dream Theater, who had an instrumental called Stream of Conciousness on their Train of Thought album?) finishes the suite as an instrumental with a short reprise of the first section at the end. Nicely, the album ends with another killer track, Rearranged.
All in all, an excellent Beard album…easily the best of the post-Neal era, showing the band really established in their new identity and forging ahead with confidence. Here’s to more Beard!
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Spock’s Beard Disc,
This is by far the best effort of this band since forming in ’92. From the 1st track to the last, this album smokes. The guitar, keys, bass and drums are all played with perfection and the vocals are very well done. I have listened to this disc many times and it holds up very well on repeat plays.
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally Found Their Voice,
I don’t often write reviews, but I’ve been enjoying this CD so much lately that I had to say something. I love all the Neal Morse era SB and his solo/side project works. I didn’t think SB would last long without Neal. Their first two efforts didn’t really do it for me, but this CD has finally, in my mind, delivered a high quality SB CD that stands separate from the Neal Morse era. The musicianship is excellent as always and the material is now equal to that musicianship.
5.0 out of 5 stars One Word: AWESOME!!!,
An outstanding follow-up to Octane and Gluttons for Punishment, the Beard did it again. Phenomenal performances from the band and an album perfectly executed, another step in the right direction!
5.0 out of 5 stars Spock’s Beard-Rearranged,
This is my 2nd Spock’s Beard album–a gift I received for fathers’ day. I had received the album “”V”” earlier and had loved it, and was thinking of purchasing the “”Snow”” album next. I was skeptical about the gift at first-because I had read so many of the reviews posted here and was of the opinion that without Neal Morse, SB would simply not be as good a band. I was ready to trade it in…expecting the worst. Boy was I wrong!
This is a very strong album–very much with the trademark Spock’s Beard sounds that come from the superb musicianship of their members. The album starts with a great tune that is very much in line with earlier SB work–“”On a perfect Day””. The song is superb-and the vocals are terrific! In my opinion-Nick D’Virgilio has clearly stepped up to the plate here and his vocal range and songwriting are outstanding. This is quite an accomplishment given the strong songwriting and singing skills of Neal Morse! The songs on this album vary from those which sound very much influenced by Genesis, to songs that seem to have a bit of the old rock band Styxx thrown in, to quiet ballads with wonderful, catchy lyrics (on “”all that’s left””). With the synthesis of rock and jazz, along perhaps with even a bit of the band Rush thrown in–the music seems clearly influenced by many of my favorite 80’s bands.
But my personal favorite on this album has got to be “”Rearranged””–How could others possibly dismiss this song as something that doesn’t belong on this album? This has got to be one of the best rock tunes I think I’ve ever heard! It starts out quietly, with nice lyrics which appear to explain a lot of the driving force behind Nick’s goal (“”to stay in the game””, and “”be a part of something bigger””). It then builds with the wonderful synth work of Ryo, and finally kicks in with the terrific lyrics that “”sometimes a dream gets wasted, somtimes it all just falls and fades away, and you may feel you’ve made it, but in a flash it all gets re-arranged””. With that-wow! Ryo’s bubbling synth kicks in, a razor sharp riff from Alan’s guitar pumps it up, and Nick’s voice hits a soaring melody above the creative chaos.
In sum–it clearly seems as though the new Spock’s Beard (sans Neal Morse) has in fact reached the top, yet do not forget at all where they came from–the outstanding musicianship and writing skills of each member. This album is a real gem!
5.0 out of 5 stars Gee – I kinda like “”Is This Love””,
I got into Spock’s Beard rather later than most of the hard core fans. They are exceptionally talented. I sometime hear sounds of Yes, early Genesis, and Rush yet they are very much their own band with their own signature sound. My personal favorite is “”As Far as the Mind Can See.”” Love the lyrics and different sound changes found. “”Where You Stand”” is also very good. Also, I consider “”Is This Love”” a nifty little number although perhaps short for a typical SB song. For what it matters I thought “”Octane”” was good as well.
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