Giant Electric Pea, 1993
This is a highly rated album among fans of "neo-prog", the British old-style prog nostalgia movement. It's apparently a return to form after a couple of rather poppy albums in the late 80s. I'm not familiar with that stuff, but this just makes me go "huh? but this album is middle-of-the-road as well!" OK, the songs are mostly extended, and it has some trademark prog riffs, but I mostly find the content of the songs plodding and stodgy. An example of this stodginess is in "Fading Senses", which finishes with a repeated theme that conjures up nothing more than the band standing stiffly, frowning and nodding to the ground in perfect 4/4. I still find no interesting qualities in Peter Nicholls' singing. Although I can sometimes tune out the vocals and uninspired tunes and enjoy the polished production. The instrumental passages are sometimes listenable, such as the tinkly keyboards at the start of "Further Away", and the moog solo later on in the same track.
On the other hand, I do have a guilty liking for the band's contemporaries Pendragon, whose style is rather similar, but with interesting (some might find annoying) vocals and better songs. I'd not hesitate to recommend "The World" instead, Pendragon's equivalent album from around the same time.
September 22, 2003