New Century

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Although not exactly a household name in the U.S., Poland's SBB (short for either "Silesian Blues Band" or "Szukaj, Burz, Buduj") were a renowned act in their homeland during the 1970s. Like the majority of emerging '70s rock acts before punk's arrival, SBB were prog-based, and after spending much of the 1980s on hiatus, the group picked up right where it left off with sporadic reunions during the '90s and early 21st century. Released in 2005, New Century (issued as a DVD audio release) is exactly what you'd expect from the band: lush arrangements and soaring vocals merged with a polished/mainstream rock edge -- with half the lyrics sung in English and the other half in Polish. Interestingly, the album was produced by Mack, who is best known for helping Queen streamline their sound and score one of the biggest albums of their career, 1980's The Game. But the sound/approach here has hints of the bombastic direction of early Queen, especially the slow-building album-opener, "The Golden Harp," while "Carry Me Away" brings to mind Soft Machine. Fans of vintage prog bands (Yes, Genesis, etc.) may find New Century appealing, but it's certainly not groundbreaking.

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