In 2019 I reviewed the debut album of Pattern -Seeking Animals - being Ted Leonard (vocals, guitar), Dave Meros (bass guitar), Jimmy Keegan (drums) and John Boegehold (keys, guitars) - and my conclusion was that it was a must have album for Spock's Beard and Enchant fans. I sadly “missed” their second (Prehensile Tales, 2020) and third album (Only Passing Through, 2022) but now I am happy to review PSA's fourth album called Spooky Action At A Distance which features ten new tracks ranging from prog rock to AOR and sometimes even pop rock.
Spooky Action At A Distance has lots of musical surprises, as you can enjoy exotic instruments like the mandolin or the charango; furthermore, the songs are all very original and diverse indeed. Let me start with the highlight of this new CD which is called He Once Was, a twelve-minute-long epic song, featuring a flute intro, a long instrumental rollercoaster middle part and a glorious end guitar solo by Leonard.
Opening track, The Man Made Of Stone is a beautiful melodic song with a prominent cello hook and outstanding vocals by Leonard. Window To The World features some reggae beats or ska rhythms and here again it is the throat of Leonard that dominates and uplifts this song to a remarkably elevated level. Underneath The Orphan Moon is a rather sombre ballad with lots of strings and heart-breaking lyrics, while Clouds That Never Rain is a true optimistic track featuring excellent percussion and bass guitar work.
Somewhere North Of Nowhere is a 100% pure prog rock song and especially the complex opening section is a treat to everybody's ears who loves Spock's Beard and Enchant. This glorious album ends with the quiet and dramatic, or better said emotional song Love Is Still The Light, again an epic beauty, this time with lots of orchestration and a gripping chorus line; being Love is still the answer, love is still the light!
Pattern-Seeking Animals have made an impressive, truly diverse prog rock album, and I think that it can hardly get any better than this. So, fans of prog rock, check it out and buy or die as Spooky Action At A Distance is one of the best albums of 2023 for sure!
****+ Martien Koolen (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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