Isobar is a prog rock band composed of Jim Anderson (bass), Malcolm Smith (guitar) and Marc Spooner (keys). The band worked with a number of musicians who contributed instrumentation like horns and drums to their self-titled album Isobar.
Prog rock isn’t as popular as it used to be. There were some bands like Yes, King Crimson and Rush which was about as close as prog rock ever got to finding a large audience. That doesn't mean there hasn’t been an esoteric fan base since it first exploded.
Suffice it to say Isobar will certainly be an album that fans of the genre will appreciate. It’s over an hour long and has thirteen songs. The album contains the staples that made it popular — 4/4 is often avoided, the songs are almost impossible to dance to and it’s about the technical aspects.
This album very much sounds like an older prog rock album and I say that as a compliment. I think most fans of the genre recognize the late ’60s and early 70s as sort of the height of the genre. Those albums had a certain type of sound. The music on Isobar certainly reflects those aesthetics to my ears.
This is also a dense album in terms of instrumentation. There is a lot to keep track of and I promise if you are a fan of the genre there’s so much to explore here. There is far too much music to go over in a one page review but let’s just say the band never keeps still. The songs are ever changing and in my opinion sound best with attentive listening on a high quality system.
As far as the playing and delivery goes the band is top notch. The band is obviously very talented from the get go and throughout the album they flex their creative and technical skills. Prog rock has never felt like emotional music to me. It’s not something I would listen to if I wanted to feel nostalgic or provide solace to my sadness. Prog rock is musicians' music. It’s the music that inspired other people to pick up a pair of drumsticks or figure out how to write a song in 7/8 time. Isobar is prog rock at its best.
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