Picking up right from where it left off on its critically acclaimed first album, Finneus Gauge raises the stakes on its second full-length One Inch of the Fall, progressive rock in the true spirit of progression. There are hints of Genesis instrumentally, especially in the wash of synthesizers (courtesy of Christopher Buzby) and Scott McGill's clean, sharp guitars, and Zappa and King Crimson also poke their heads into the fray, with dissonance and arcane humor flying all over the place. There is also a healthy dollop of jazz fusion garnishing the album, with occasional heavy metal inflections in the guitars, including the opening riff on the album opener, "Open Up the Fog Lines." The music itself, however, is seamless and impeccable. There are rapid time changes and signature shifts throughout the album, but they are not an ornament or decoration for the song. Instead, the complexity of Finneus Gauge is integral to the songs, adding a tangible force and tension. At the same time, the band is not, like many progressive acts, overly concerned with otherworldly themes. One Inch of the Fall is often a dark album, more musically than lyrically, and certainly earthy. The grinding rumble that opens "Blogee's Lament" actually has more in common with industrial music than it does with progressive rock, but when the singing synthesizers and incisive guitar enters the frame, the song kicks into a complex, almost stuttering tune that is insanely expressive musically, truly sounding like a lament. When the piano takes over the song in the final minute, it turns into a gorgeous melancholy plea. Jonn Buzby and Chris Eike lay down relentlessly intricate and growling rhythms on drums and bass, respectively, while Laura Martin's cool and smoky vocals lead into intricate multi-part band harmonies that lend a portentous atmosphere to the music. One Inch of the Fall should not be mistaken, though, for an explicitely heavy album. "In a Different Hour" has dual twittering synth lines that are playful and kinetic, while the most impressive song on the album is "Early Sun." Ethereal with scintillating fingerpicked acoustic guitar, warm bass and brushed drums, the song is at once inviting and esoteric, made even more so when a Moog-like keyboard solo intercepts the song a couple minutes into the cut before again giving way to the guitars. There is something inviolable and pretty about the song and, in fact, the album. One Inch of the Fall creates an enticing environment all its own.
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AllMusic Review by Stanton Swihart