Released in the second half of 2000, The Neck Pillow is the follow-up to Inquire's debut CD Inquire Within. Still an independent release, The Neck Pillow sports excellent production and obvious maturation. Inquire's sound, still strongly influenced by 1980s British neo-prog rock, now has a more tangible identity and shows more inspiration from Eloy and High Wheel too. Vocals are stronger and more confident, drumming is better. The album's center of attention is the two-part "Die Bettwurst" (The Neck Pillow), inspired by a movie of the same title. The piece is a full-fledged progressive extravaganza with portions sung in German, Eloy-like use of voices and characterizations, and music that is not really complex but aims at intensity and mood shifts (a typical neo-prog approach). Here is the talent Inquire Within hinted at, fully matured and crystallized with the help of efficient production. "The Death of Ase" is a rendition of Grieg's theme, while "Die Berliner Bettwurst Part One" is a goofy German oompah tune that concludes the album on a humorous note lacking in the first album. Recommended.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture