Ok, so you like Styx, Kansas, Old REO (before they went soft), the you really need to check this band out. Presto Ballet, a band out of Seattle (its not what you think) founded by the guitarist from Metal Church (one of my favorite all-time thrash metal bands) Kurdt Vanderhoof. He was influenced by the 70's bands like Yes, Genesis and those listed above. He put together a great band and recreated that 70's sound. How did they do it you might ask. They recorded EVERYTHING in analog. Do digital BS anywhere. The bottom sounds are phenomenal and there is a real mellotron in there as well. As of this writing they just released their third album Invisible Places (with a whole new line up). I do not have this one yet but plan to get it soon. So I am going to discuss their first album and may do each album over time. However, the lineup for the first two albums are as follows:
Kurdt Vanderhoof - Guitars, additional keys
Jeff Wade : Drums
Brian Cokeley : Keyboard
Scott Albright : Vocals
Brian Lake : Bass
Peace Among The Ruins: Simply put, one of the best songs I have heard in a long time. The beginning just punches you in the gut and then cools out into a great groove. This song has some subtle odd time which makes it very fun to play.
The Fringes: a bit more synth in this one. Very Styx-like. There are some great vocal harmonies in this song during the chorus which has a bit of trippy feel to it. This is a foreshadow of some of the other songs later on the album.
Seasons: again a ton of great vocal harmonies. This song is straight out of the 70's. The chorus has the same chord progression as Ghost of a Chance by Rush. I don't think it was intentional and it fits great.
Find the Time: This song is No Quarter part 2. It starts with a mellotron! The beginning is mellow and later builds up. There is a great synth sound in there as well. I love No quarter and I love this song.
Speed of Time: A mellow number that starts on the acoustic guitar and adds some synth over it. Then bursts into a great driving groove with a nice keyboard overlaying the melody. The chorus has layered harmonies, again catching that classic rock vibe.
Sunshine: this is a straight-up hippy song from the late 60's. I love the vocals on this tune. Be careful, this song will get stuck in your head all day.
Slave: this song starts with that low moog sound, slowly building the tension with guitar and drums until the drums bust into a Bonham-like fill to get to the full riff with Pink-floydish synth over the top. This is a much heavier song than the previous few.
Bringin' It On: Last but not least. Starts with an acoustic guitar and the singer. Eventually it builds slightly with the drums coming in and grooves from there. This is a song to raise your lighter to.
The band also released 3 full songs free to download that were recorded for this album but not put on it. The link for them is here: http://www.prestoballet.com/downloads.asp
Get these songs!! They are just as good. Let me know what you think about this band. Thanks.