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Progland was founded by John Gabbard in 2005. It's purpose has been to provide you, the music community with the latest music and dvd reviews. It will continue to be your link to the most popular music reviews in the progressive world.


White - "ST"

Label - Renaissance
Reviewed by: Jeffery K. Matheus
Genre: Prog Rock
Country: England
Language: English
Length: NA
Release Date: April 25, 2006
Band Members: Alan White / drums Geoff Downes / keyboards
  Kevin Currie / vocals Karl Haug / guitar
  Steve Boyce / bass
Track Listing: 1.)- New Day 8.)-Mighty Love
  2.)- Beyond the Sea of Lies 9.)- Give Up Giving Up
  3.)- Fate 10.)-This Settles It Once and For All
  4.)- Dreamaway  
  5.)- Loyal  
  6.)- Crazy Believer  
The Review

Sometimes first impressions can be decieving!...When I listened to this CD for the very first time, I walked away somewhat disappointed. Expectations can mean a lot, and this music was simply not what I expected. I had spoken with Geoff Downes at a 2005 Asia gig (about eight months prior to this albums release) and he described White's music as "a mix of prog and AOR". In fact, he mentioned that there would be an "epic" prog track on the album. Well, there is no epic prog to be found here at all - perhaps a song was cut from the album, or maybe edited down into a shorter piece. Either way, that first listen certainly thwarted my expectations!...But then something happened. I listened to the CD again a few days later, and then listened again - and I soon found that I was enjoying it, with many of its musical hooks getting stuck in my head.

I guess you could say that I layed aside my original expectations, and just accepted this album of it's own terms...For the uninitiated, "White" is a new side project from legendary Yes drummer Alan White. His bandmates for this debut outing are Kevin Currie (vocals), Steve Boyce (bass) Karl Haug (guitar), and of course, Geoff Downes (of Asia, Yes, & Buggles fame) on keyboards. Their music is mainly a mix of 80's AOR and hard rock, with only occasional, subtle prog-rock touches (there are also a few traces of reggae and world music to be found.) Yes freaks and/or drum aficionados looking for the Alan White of "Sound Chaser" and "Ritual" will likely find themselves disappointed. More accurate points of Yes-reference would probably be "The Calling" or "Rhythm of Love". Is that a bad thing??? In my opinion, it's not. Mainstream rock, when done well, is just as much of a legitimate art form as prog - and these guys are damn good in their chosen style. And although the band may wear White's name, this is obviously a true group effort (four of the five members contribute to the songwriting, and production duties are credited to the group as a whole.) Kevin Currie's high, ultra-raspy vocal style will probably not be everyone's cup of tea, but I for one really like him - especially in his more emotive, 'theatrical' moments.

I also like the fact that guitarist Karl Haug can rock hard without falling into the annoying heavy metal pyrotechnics that weigh down many other bands. It could be said that Haug has a style similar to Saga's Ian Crichton or Asia's Al Pitrelli - I call it "meaty, yet melodic". As for the individual songs, the best of the crop are "New Day" (a rockin', attention-grabing opener which displays quite nicely what this band's all about), "Beyond the Sea of Lies" (probably my favorite here, with a great chorus, a dramatic arrangement, and some great anti-war/anti-Bush lyrics that make me want to shout "Amen!" at the end), "Give Up Giving Up" (one of the album's catchiest tunes, with a great vocal from Currie and just a hint of reggae in the chorus), "Crazy Believer" (defininitly the least commercial track here, and the hardest to describe - but there is an intensity to this one that really works. Some great "swirling" keyboard sounds from Downes, too. Is that the old Fairlight synthesizer from his "Drama" days I'm hearing???) "Once and For All" (a hard rock tune built around some beefy guitar riffs and a big chorus. Were it not for Downes colorful keyboard work, this song wouldn't sound too far out of place of an old Bad Company or Grand Funk Railroad album), "Mighty Love" (featuring a bouncy sing-along chorus, this is the one where Alan White's reaggae influence really comes in!

Although this would usually not be my type of music, there is something about this song that I really like. Some nice spiritually-tinged lyrics, too) and "Loyal" (a mid-tempoed piece that fluctuates between a hard rock chorus, and mellower, acoustic verses - this song tells the story of a friendship in trouble. It's one of my favorites from the album, featuring an emotional vocal from Currie, and some subtle keyboard flavors from Downes.)...So, any criticisms? Well, the last track (the folksy, acoustic "Waterhole") just doesn't seem to fit well in my opinion. I would have loved for this album to end with a powerful "bang!" - instead it sort of fizzles out with the weakest, most forgettable track of the bunch. Another track, "Fate", seems to me like B-side material (although perhaps I'm in the minority, as other reviews seem to like the song.) I also have mixed feelings about the Roger Dean cover art. Don't get me wrong - I'm a dedicated Yeshead and have always loved Dean's work. This may even be one of his best images to date. However, the cover art simply screams out "YES!" - while perhaps, as a new band, White should have gone for their own distinctive cover style.

It seems to me that the best way to market this album would be to AOR fans. In the crowded (and finicky) modern prog market, a hook-driven album like this will probably get dismissed as "too commercial", and could easily get lost in the shuffle of more adverterous new releases...In closing, it's become obvious from the reviews on Amazon (as well as comments posted in various Yes fan forums) that this album has recieved a very mixed reception from Alan White's fanbase. Some love it. Some hate it. Many fall somewhere in between. Anytime an album recieves such divisive reactions, there is only one fair thing to do...give the album a listen and make up your own mind!


Three and a Half Stars (out of five).


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