Now that Neal Morse has left Spock's Beard, it will be interesting to see what type of role keyboard player Ryo Okumoto will play in the band. After hearing his solo album Coming Through, I think the band will be in fine shape, instrumentally at least.
Okumoto is a monster player, as evidenced by the manic keyboard mania on the instrumental cuts "Godzilla VS. King Ghidarah" (ah, I love the Godzilla reference!) and the raging "Free Fall." Using a huge arsenal of keyboards, Okumoto displays chops with melody, which is a good sign for future Spock's Beard recordings, especially for fans who may hope the band goes in a more adventurous direction (not that Snow is in any ways commercial!) Morse puts in an appearance on the poignant title track, which is one of the mellowest songs of the bunch here. "Close Ehough" opens with some nice piano and waves of Mellotron, before bursting into a complex Yes-flavored number. Featuring Alan Morse and Michael Landau on guitars, Dave Meros on bass, Simon Phillips on drums, and Toto singer Bobby Kimball on vocals, this track is a 19-minute gem, and would have made a welcome addition to any Spock's Beard album. Kimball also lends his vocal talents to "Slipping Down", while leather lunged Glenn Hughes fills in on the rampaging rocker "Highway Roller", which also features the immense talents of Toto guitarist Steve Lukather.
While Okumoto's chops are ever present throughout this CD, it comes across more like a band effort. His signature synth solos, Hammond sound, and huge Mellotron washes are ever present, and judging by the results of this fine CD, the next faze in the career of Spock's Beard should be promising if Ryo has anything to say about it.