Parallel or Ninety Degrees
   
A Can of Worms
The Best of Po90
1996-2001
   
   

Release Date: January 27, 2009
Produced by: N/A
Format: CD

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03/25/2009
Douglas Bice


 

I am guessing that many people have never heard of this band.  Reading from the booklet that came with the 2 disc set, Parallel or Ninety Degrees (Po90 in condensed form) was a rock band from Yorkshire in England. They went through numerous band changes in a short time, the constant being the main vocalist and songwriter Andy
Tillson Diskdrive (I know, phony sounding but cool nonetheless).

One sentence in the booklet sums it up; "This is a progressive rock record". Everything that is good about progressive rock is plentiful here; the swirling soundscapes, extended instrumental passages and inventive drumming. Though the songs came from 6 different releases (and one unreleased), they all still had the same great style throughout. The band borrows heavily from Emerson Lake & Palmer, not only in some very "Karn Evil 9" -ish instrumental jams, but the lead singer reminds one of Greg Lake during many songs. This is not to say that Po9D doesn't have their own distinctive sound, they truly
do. They are equal parts ELP, King Crimson, Dream Theater, UK, Deep Purple, and Porcupine Tree thrown into a blender and puréed into a melodious concoction. Add a pinch of techno flavor thrown in for good measure.

These guys aren't afraid to rock with plenty of stellar guitar-work amidst these songs. Disc 1 kicks off with the raw "A Man Of Thin Air", a heavy-prog song to give a great first impression (pardon the horrible ELP pun). Every song had me wondering what was in store next.  A track by track analysis of these discs would be a fatiguing feat, as each song shifts gears quite suddenly moving from heavy rock to softer keyboard interludes in one swift motion. The shortest song on these discs clocks in at 3:33, with most songs being served in 5 to 10 minute slices. Buckle up for a long ride kids because Disc 2 contains "Afterlifecycle Sequence" and "Four Egos One War," each at over 20 minutes of length.   If epic songs like these aren't your cup of tea then you are missing out on two excellent works. Po9D plays tightly knit music while keeping it creative.  But most importantly they are aces with melody. Disc 2 ends on a worthy note with the haunting "Unforgiven Skies".

I listened to both discs all the way through, and my "Listening Deficit Disorder" (okay, I made up that auditory ailment but we've all become restless at times with entire CDs) never kicked in.  One of the many talents of Po90 is knowing when to shift gears if a musical passage begins to wear thin. I found myself listening to several of the songs a second time and enjoying them even more. Ever feel ripped off when a CD that can hold 74 minutes only gives you 40 minutes or so of playing time? Well grumble no more, this "Best Of" is a good value with each disc containing over 70 minutes of excellent musicianship.  In this economy that equals more musical bang for your buck. The sound
quality is very good as well.  All instruments and vocals are well balanced. Sadly Po9D are no longer together, but in the booklet it mentions they never really broke up, so there is a chance that we may yet get to hear more from these talented musicians at a later date [Note: Band is reforming]. This 2-disc set is highly recommended for fans of the prog-rock genre!

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 



 
     
     
     

 

 

   
 
     

 

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212 Frech
FC1810

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