Divorced Land

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Divorced Land is essentially by-the-book progressive rock redux, except 25-odd years after the genre had its heyday. Everything you would expect from the music is here, from the alien keyboard squiggles and trouser-crease sharp guitar runs to the extended suite-like compositions, which is pleasant enough. The songs, though, seem to go on forever with complex progression after complex progression without really leading anywhere in particular, as the best prog and neo-prog do. In that regard, it probably doesn't help that the lyrics are in German-inflected English. There are some really nice, unconventional moments (with more than an hour of music, there are actually numerous), like the far too short "Faded," two minutes of symphonic dub bass and tribal percussion that gives a different spin to drum'n'bass. The two minutes of train-track rhythms and keyboard ambience that make up "Naivety" are also intriguing breaks from the formula, and the electro-jazz jam and flute flourishes on "Run" are superb. More divergences of this sort -- or better yet, an album based on such divergences -- would have made the lackluster conventional qualities of some of the songs more palatable. While prog fans will no doubt find moments of pleasure to be had from Divorced Land, it largely lacks the edge and invention to garner fans from outside the genre, who should probably just stick with their Genesis and Return to Forever LPs.

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