Interjecting the word progressive into music can be confusing for some. When you think of the word progressive itself it refers to advancement and a higher stage. For a band to call themselves progressive some people may assume they are being pretentious by thinking they are pulling off some next level type flow. This is in fact wrong because when you attach the word progressive to describe a band or artist it’s actually not referring to that at all anymore. It’s simply referring to a style that was established by bands like Yes, Rush and King Crimson.
Progressives rock bands experiment with time signatures, have a surplus of instruments, blend genres and deviate from the typical verse/chorus/verse. The fact is that progressive rock like any other style of music can have some acts that aren’t very good and others that redefine the genre.
The band Grey Light is a progressive rock band from New York that is far from redefining the genre but also is pretty far way from clogging up your ears with unpleasant sounds. The band which consists of Sophie Burgos (lead vocals), Dylan Price (keys), Matt Krol (bass), Jeff Krol (drums) and Ben Fang (guitar) released their self-titled debut album Grey Light. It is a well-written and well-produced statement from the band.
The band members were actually students at Eastman School of Music and it becomes obvious when listening to their music that they aren't hobbyists. I have to say that from a technical perspective this release is exceptional. Each player brings an element that you focus in on and can be impressed by if you chose. The bass in particular was a quite a treat on a number of songs.
From a purely aesthetically perspective the music doesn't fare as well (at least not at first). Upon first listen the melodies don’t jump out at you as being particularly poppy or infectious. Like a copious amount of progressive rock bands Grey Light sometimes forgets about the hook in favor of unique arrangements. That being said the songs do grow on you with repeated listening and some songs certainly are more apt to alleviate that itch for an infectious melody.
On of the highlights was “Second Floor,” which displays the band at their best. They meld funk and rock while also creating a catchy canvas for Burgos to sing over. As the album progressed the other highlights were “Eulogy” and the closer “Sunshine.” There were also a number of songs that did little to move the needle for me.
Overall, this is a mixed batch of songs. If you are a fan of progressive rock in general then you should enjoy this as well.
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