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Oblivion Sun: Oblivion Sun

Proving that aging proggers can, indeed, make music that fits into the genre's contemporary scene, Happy the Man founding members Frank Wyatt and Stan Whitaker shine brightly with Oblivion Sun. This five-piece band effortlessly crosses genres while remaining firmly grounded in progressive rock's roots, melding funk and jazz with rock and even pop. "The Ride," for example, sounds like a Spock's Beard tune from the post-Neal Morse era. Elsewhere, vintage yet fresh sounds abound. "Catwalk" offers a nod to Genesis circa Peter Gabriel, the horned-up instrumental "Noodlepoint" references classic Chicago, and "Re: Bootsy," "Golden Feast" and "No Surprises" take cues from Wyatt's and Whitaker's old band.

The big surprise here is how cohesive everything sounds. The members of Oblivion Sun play like they've been together for years although next time out, they might want to opt for fewer instrumentals (seven of the nine tracks here are vocal-free). Whitaker's voice is perfect for this style of music, and it should not be wasted. That said, Oblivion Sun is an accessible record that should please young and old progheads alike.

Track Listing:
1) Fanfare
2) The Ride
3) Noodlepoint
4) Catwalk
5) No Surprises
6) Re; Bootsy
7) Chapter 7.1
8) Tales of Young Whales
9) Golden Feast

Added: October 29th 2007
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Related Link: Official Oblivion Sun Web Site
Hits: 4964
Language: english

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Oblivion Sun: Oblivion Sun
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2007-10-29 16:27:27
My Score:

You know them well; Frank Wyatt and Stan Whitaker, founding members of prog legends Happy the Man. After 2006's "duo-project" album under the moniker of Pedal Giant Animals, the two decided to make it an official band, and go with the name Oblivion Sun. The full line-up here is Stan Whitaker on guitar and vocals, Frank Wyatt on keyboards and sax, Chris Mack on drums, Dave DeMarco on bass, and Bill Plummer on keyboards. Not surprisingly, much of the music here (especially the instrumentals, which occupy the majority of the CD) sounds just like vintage HtM. Opener "Fanfare" is a rousing little progressive fusion ditty, not unlike the sort of charming, complex tunes they were famous for back in the 70's, while "The Ride" is a vocal piece, and a hard rocker at that, something that one would expect from the current incarnation of Spock's Beard. Whitaker shows here not only his great guitar skills, but that he is also a fine vocalist as well, pefectly at home singing gritty, hard rocking material. Other highlights include the snappy jazz of "Noodlepoint", featuring some cool sax from Wyatt, the catchy Dixie Dregs-ish fusion of "No Surprises", the lighthearted funk-jazz track "Re: Bootsy" (check out the scorching synth work from Plummer & Wyatt on this one, as well as a sizzling Whitaker guitar lead), the majestic & metallic "Chapter 7.1" (which would fit right at home on a Planet X CD), and the UK styled prog gem "Tales of Young Whales", which sees Whitaker pulling off a monumental solo that will leave fans of Allan Holdsworth smiling mightily.

This is one great debut, and although I'm sure most prog fans might be upset with the fact that Happy the Man might never get around to making another record, as long as Wyatt, Whitaker, and company continue to make Oblivion Sun a reality, things will be just fine. Highly recommended!

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