Spock’s Beard – ‘Noise Floor’ (Album Review)

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As one of modern prog’s most definitive bands, Spock’s Beard have a reputation for consistently high-class performances. Historically, musical missteps have been few and far between – and more recently, they’ve been on a formidable winning streak paved with solid grooves, near-peerless musicianship, and quality songwriting.

Thirteen albums into their career, you have to ask: Is that streak sustainable? For most bands, the answer tends to be no. At some point, even the best of the best become capable of running aground, drifting way off into Wanky Land or making a desperate, misguided attempt at watered-down mainstream success.

Noise Floor was written with immediacy and accessibility in mind – and fans of classic prog will fall in love with it in no time at all. Ironically though, I’m more a fan of this band’s tougher side – and so for me, it’s been a bit of a grower.

With an abundance of peppy organs and lilting acoustic guitars on display, Noise Floor often leans toward the lighter side of the prog spectrum – but then you do also have tracks like Box Of Spiders buried in there too. Give me a complex composition full of frantic note flurries and off-kilter stabs that make the average listener brand them “random,” and I’m happy; slow sections, held chords, and songs that sometimes bring The Beatles and even Bowie to mind are just not my thing. But that’s a matter of personal taste – I can still appreciate albums like Noise Floor, and only a fool would accuse Spock’s Beard of writing bad music on grounds of subjective reactions alone.

Spock’s Beard superfans will doubtless adore Noise Floor, and embrace the additional Cutting Room Floor EP – a collection aimed at the completists out there. Classic prog fans will, as mentioned earlier, give Noise Floor a backslap and offer it a beer – and those who, like me, feel more attracted to darker and heavier things will still find satisfaction on a regular basis.

Overall, Noise Floor has something for everybody – and Spock’s Beard have managed to achieve that diversity without compromising their integrity. When it comes to progressive music, you can’t ask for much more than that.

LTK RATING: 85%

Noise Floor drops May 25, and can be pre-ordered on iTunes.

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Posted on 22 May 2018

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