Dario | Nov 15, 2023 | 0
Pattern-Seeking Animals – Spooky Action at a Distance
Do Pattern-Seeking Animals ever sleep? I am, by the way, referring to the band of that name. Their new album “Spooky Action at a Distance” is their fourth in just under five years. Due to this fact, the band (formed from members of Spock’s Beard) decided to take a new approach. Extra musical styles have been added and the vocals have a different sound. The album was also produced at a different studio with a different engineer to the previous releases.
A difference can also be noticed in the lyrics. Keyboard player John Boegehold elaborates; “The subject matters of the lyrics include a Norse King contemplating life while being conquered, an ageing seeker on the path toward enlightenment, aliens hunting down humans trying to evade capture, the life of a conflicted soldier before and after WW1, a pregnant teenager leaving a bad situation at home, a reluctant hero victorious in her final battle and a guy’s girlfriend who leaves him because of his conspiracy theories.”
Military style drum paradiddles introduce ‘The Man Made of Stone’ which concerns the introspections of the Norse King hitherto mentioned. This strong seven-minute starter has the feel of some of their older material. Perhaps that is by design to ease the seasoned listener in before introducing the new styles. Indeed, the next track ‘Window to the World’ is up-tempo art rock and has hints of ska and reggae.
Pattern-Seeking Animals – Window to the World (click here if the video does not play)
The tempo continues in ‘What Awaits Me,’ with Ted Leonard’s distinctive vocals riding smoothly over the catchy rhythm. A nice little guitar lead break brings the track to a gentle finish. Now, no Prog-Rock album is complete without a lengthy number, and ‘He Once Was’ fits that brief for this album. It is the one about the WW1 soldier and exceeds 12 minutes. The opening passage reminds me of the theme tune to the Clangers. The track is gentle and sombre with long instrumental sections which at times bring Pink Floyd to mind.
If you are a fan of Elton John, then you should like ‘Underneath the Orphan Moon.’ The band think that it has the feel of one of his classic songs. It is evocative and cinematic and has a real string section, so essentially a rock ballad. There is nothing wrong with that though, and halfway through the album, we have had five completely different tracks.
Pattern-Seeking Animals – Underneath the Orphan Moon (click here if the video does not play)
That trend continues with ‘Clouds That Never Rain,’ a proggy, slightly poppy and catchy number that raises the mood. Then things are softened again with ‘Bulletproof,’ which alternates between laid back AOR and a more anthemic chorus.
The imaginatively titled ‘Somewhere North of Nowhere’ brings more diversity. It reminds me of Queen in places, Spock’s Beard in others. The video of the track is worth watching as it seems to indicate that north of nowhere is a strange place indeed.
Pattern-Seeking Animals – Somewhere North of Nowhere (click here if the video does not play)
As the end of the album approaches the material gets softer. First with ‘Summoned from Afar’ in which the new vocal sounds are evident. And finally, ‘Love is Still the Light’ sees things out with a gentle, heartfelt ballad.
I know from reviewing their second Album ‘Prehensile Tales’ that the quality is a given, and this new album confirms that. Prog-Rock has been around for an exceedingly long time, but Pattern-Seeking Animals are doing something different with it. Some of the material on this album might be classed as modern Prog-Rock, but whatever, it is splendid anyway.
- The Man Made of Stone
- Window to the World
- What Awaits Me
- He Once Was
- Underneath the Orphan Moon
- Clouds That Never Rain
- Somewhere North of Nowhere
- Summoned From Afar
- Love is Still the Light