THE AARON CLIFT EX­PER­I­MENT

Imag­ine Dream Theater with a more ob­vi­ous melodic hue.

Prog - - The Musical Box - MD

There’s much to ad­mire about this trio from Austin, Texas. They’re pre­pared to tap into the influence of Rush, Marillion and King Crim­son, with­out ever be­ing for­mu­laic. So while open­ing track Faith crashes through with blues rock power, cour­tesy of some scorch­ing gui­tar from Van Wilks

(one of many guests brought in), Bet­ter Off Be­fore has a Bea­tles-style psy­che­delic quirk­i­ness, and Cas­tle In The Sky has a jazz fu­sion approach. The up­shot is an al­bum that sounds like Dream Theater, yet with its own melodic fresh­ness. Aaron Clift him­self has a voice that tells a story, and Dave North adds dra­matic gui­tar touches that neatly com­ple­ment Clift’s own key­board swathes. On oc­ca­sion, such as with the clam­ber­ing Dream Within A Dream, the un­der­ly­ing at­mo­sphere is the main dy­namic. They can also con­vinc­ingly range from pure power to more del­i­cate in­fer­ences in the same song, as hap­pens on both Sav­age In A Fancy Suit and Wild Hunters. The high­light here is the ti­tle track, though, bring­ing to mind Trick Of The Tail-era Gen­e­sis. How­ever, the al­bum is very charis­matic and en­tic­ing through­out.

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