In the '60s and '70s, progressive rock wasn't always about long-winded solos, classical-minded experimentation, and 20-minute pieces that took up the entire side of an LP. There were also the prog rock singles that were hooky, direct, and immediate; for example, Pink Floyd's "Money," Yes' "Roundabout," and the Moody Blues' "Nights in White Satin." And RPWL seems to be making a conscious effort to appeal to that side of progressive rock on their fifth album, The RPWL Experience. Some of the lyrics on this 2008 release are little too lofty and self-indulgent for their own good, but at its best, this 67-minute CD hits its mark in terms of pop/rock songcraft, and it is important to note that the album's inspiration does not come from prog rock exclusively. It also comes from psychedelic rock, Brit-pop, space rock, and alternative pop/rock. While RPWL's '60s and '70s influences (including Pink Floyd, early Genesis and late-period Beatles) remain strong, one cannot overlook the inspiration of Brit-pop/alternative pop/rock influences from the '90s and 2000s such as Radiohead, Coldplay, and Oasis. And even though RPWL is a German band, The RPWL Experience is certainly a very British-influenced album; melodic, nicely crafted tracks like "Where Can I Go," "This Is Not a Prog Song," and "River" sound like they could have easily come from the United Kingdom. Even a cover of American folk-rock icon Bob Dylan's "Masters of War" has a strong Brit-pop appeal; no one can accuse RPWL's version of "Masters of War" of being a carbon copy of Dylan's version. Again, The RPWL Experience has its lyrical excesses, but all things considered, this is a respectable outing from RPWL.
The RPWL Experience Review
by Alex Henderson