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Proud Peasant: Flight

"the soundtrack to sublime dreams & wicked nightmares"

The above is quoted from the liner notes of Proud Peasant's debut album Flight. The band's beginnings go back to 2003 when main man Zander Rapstine formed the pop/rock band The Evildoers out of Austin, Texas. In 2011 Rapstine was searching for something a little different so he quit the band and formed Proud Peasant, this time heading for proggier realms. The band includes Rapstine (electric & acoustic guitars, tenor guitar, mandolin, ukulele, melodica, glockenspiel, percussion), Jay Allen (keyboards, piano), David Hobizal (drums) and Kyle Robarge (bass, fretless acoustic bass). There are also several guest musicians who lend a hand.

The album is divided into three tracks, each one over twelve minutes in length. These long form compositions give the players plenty of opportunity to spread their wings and they take full advantage. This is not so much a solo fest as it is three musicians working together to create an intriguing piece of instrumental progressive music. Although there are no vocals per se, there is a choir that is used very effectively to further heighten the drama.

The first track "The Prisoner" is a prime example of the band's ability to mix softer acoustic moments with a more grandiose 'epic' sound . Acoustic guitar starts it off and the music gradually builds with some fantastic keyboard sounds. A marching style drumbeat ensues and the music builds in grand fashion. The music ebbs and flows and the transitions from one section to the next are seamless demonstrating the skill of all three musicians. The wind instruments sprinkled throughout is a nice touch including trumpet with a real Spanish flair. Elements of classic prog and Canterbury are touched upon.

The second track "Awakenings" is the longest of the three clocking in at just under twenty minutes. The intro includes pastoral acoustic guitar upon which dramatic church organ is soon added. The music soon becomes more intense as the guitar riffs get heavier and the band really starts to get into a groove. Back and forth it goes as the instruments weave their way between different sections and motifs. If you are a fan of progressive rock, and I presume you are, you really need to hear this tune. There is a Renaissance feel at times which brings to mind bands like Gryphon. The a cappella section is also a real treat.

The last track "The Precipice" takes us on a wild ride right from the start with its up-tempo drum beat, intertwining synth and guitar motifs and lilting flute work. The music carries a dark tone at times and the choir serves to enhance the effect. It is a grandiose sweeping track and worthy of 'epic' status.

Flight is an excellent progressive rock album, taking elements of classic prog and coming up with their own unique, highly intoxicating sound. Folks, this one is a beauty.

Track Listing:
1. The Prisoner (12:28)
2. Awakenings (19:34)
3. The Precipice (13:20)

Added: July 3rd 2014
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Band's Official Site
Hits: 2616
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Proud Peasant: Flight
Posted by Mark Johnson, SoT Staff Writer on 2014-11-20 23:38:24
My Score:

There is not much I can add to Jon's excellent review. I am happy to have participated in this roundtable review. Proud Peasant has a great Jethro Tull sounding name and their music is played by professionals who know how to get the most out of the intricacies of each instrument. They are well in tune and focused on pleasing the senses.

For someone who loves the long epic tracks, this album was a complete delight with three solid progressive, in the classic sense, tracks full of enough variation and originality, (how many prog bands are using tubas and Spanish trumpets?), to immediately bring my ears to attention.

The opening Bolero like track, "The Prisoner" is definitely a keeper.

The acoustic guitar that opens "Awakening" is worth the price of admission alone. The keyboards later are just whipped crème.

The bass, heavy at times drums, and flute from "The Precipice" close this magnificent instrumental album well.

Get this album. Dream to its pleasant sounds. One of the best instrumental albums I have heard this year.

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