Tuesday, November 02, 2004
Neal Morse's One
Mike Portnoy's drumming was excellent on this album (as usual) and he played with a somewhat lighter touch than I'm used to from him (as cool as the "Yellow Matter Custard" set was, the drums were too heavy on it). The strings and horns are very tastefully done, reminding me of George Harrison's "What Is Life" (which is of course covered on the bonus disc in the special edition only available from Radiant Records). Morse gets great tones on the guitars (a Parker, an ES-335 and a Strat), with a very eclectic set of amps (I caught at least one Orange head and a tweed Bassman in the studio photos). Keaggy of course is playing his Zion and gets that amazing tone on his wild solo on "The Creation" (I would've liked to have heard him with the Les Paul as well, but I guess he reserves that for Glass Harp).
An interesting thought occurred to me as I listened to this - this is one of those records that grabs you on first listening and you want to listen to it straight through. With "Be", when the inevitable interruptions (phone call, meetings) happened, going back to it was a bit jarring in that there wasn't any great hook or melody that I could immediately get back into. While the interruptions came during the first listen to "One" it was easy to fall right back into listening to it. The songs were melodic and powerful enough that I actually wanted to recycle a bit into the album to get back into the groove where I was when I was interrupted. It's that cool to listen to. The only other time recently that I've felt like that when listening to a new CD was when I picked up "Smile", but that's an album that demands a lot of the listener and pretty much a dedicated listening. I daresay I won't be listening to "Smile" in the car, but this might just make it into the changer. It works on both the dedicated and casual listen levels.