Half Past Four - Rabbit In The Vestibule

Dominated by the always smart and intriguing but never strident vocals of Kyree Vibrant, this Canadian based band who apart from Kyree all hail from the USSR are not classifiable in the classic sense and all the better for it in my opinion. The album has a playful spirit epitomised by the instrumental Salome, and only occasionally flags under the weight of its ambition.

Highlights for me are Strangest Dream which has a great hook and could be a hit, Twelve Little Words puts me in mind of Steely Dan for some reason and has some nice guitar breaks. Southern Boogie is just that and sure is funky. Poisoned Tune has a Canterbury feel to it and a really good guitar break and along with Biel these are the two longest songs on the album at around eight minutes apiece. Biel is probably the only song one would recognise as prog in the classic sense, It announces its intentions with an operatic chorus no less, and Kyree gives her best vocal tour-de-force on this song.

This album crosses all sorts of styles, and plays with all the toys in the box from Zappa to Steely Dan to Canterbury Prog to Pop to Be-Bop Deluxe to Sparks to flamenco to Rabin era Yes to Stevie Nicks (yes, really), throws it all up in the air and what comes down to earth is reassembled in an always interesting fashion. The sound of doors opening and closing permeates the album suggesting songs are contained within their own rooms, but still flowing as a whole. Clever use of time signatures within a pop song construct and some fine keyboard and guitar interplay make this album a good way to spend an hour, and each listen reveals intricacies previously missed. Is it prog? Not in the classic sense, but approach it as a skewed left-field pop album and you won't be disappointed.

3 out of 5
#38

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