Starry Messenger by The Dropa StoneReviewer: Chris Hattingh Jon Meyers – Guitar/Vocals Justin Henry – Guitar Will Richey – Bass Joe Lederman – Drums
Progressive rock may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it is one of my favorite genres, especially when it’s done as well as it is here. The musicianship is rock solid…no weak links in this band. The production is stellar, the songwriting and arranging is imaginative and inspired, and the band definitely has its own uniquely identifiable sound. The playing is very precise and squeaky tight as the band weaves its way effortlessly through complex arrangements in various time signatures (4/4, 6/8, 7/8, etc….it’s all in there). The playing is also very tasteful and shows maturity….although each individual obviously has lots of chops, everyone is disciplined enough not to overplay, but rather to let the songs decide how they would like to be played. I could easily see these guys opening for Rush or Dream Theater.
Listening to this album reminded me of many other bands (for many different reasons). At times the songwriting and arranging reminded me of bands as varied as Dream Theater, Tempest, Rush, Gentle Giant, Jethro Tull, Radiohead, Pink Floyd, and even The Fixx and U2.
A few songs even had a grunge rock feel (in places). And on Catfish Blues I was instantly reminded of Robin Trower and Pat Travers – great blues guitar work. There were also the great vocal harmonies, wistful meandering bass lines and tasty guitar solo in Salsa Verde. Not to mention the rock solid drums thoughout, seasoned with some delicious hand and foot independence. The vocals too were appealing, believable and emotional. Like I said – no weak links in this band. They ROCK!! I would highly recommend this album to all prog rock fans out there. In fact I’d recommend it to everyone who appreciates great writing, arranging and musicianship.
This is Chris Hattingh’s first review for www.indiemusic.co, and it’s a pleasure to welcome his insights here.