For those of you who ever pondered what it would be like had Peter Gabriel joined ELP, here may lie the closest approximation you will encounter! [GELP?] By The Dark Of Light is a fairly-impressive one-man project by Southern California’s Shaun Guerin—Guerin sings, plays drums, keyboards, guitar, and bass. Everything. Only one track, “Sing My Prayers,” enlists a guest guitarist. Well-rounded proggers will immediately recognize classic Genesis cover artist Paul Whitehead’s painted jacket—not one of his more impressive works, conceptually.
Of ten tracks…six are instrumental! The title track features a bare amount of lyrics. On to the songs themselves: now-traditional, very Genesis-sounding piano fifths and Hackettesque guitar mark “Into The Dark Of Light”; a swirling analog voice spirals between channels, prefacing Emersonian piano licks and Palmeresque drumming. Things mellow out very quickly (changes are in abundance) for another spell of Genesis. Yes, Shaun Guerin succeeds in sounding like both bands at once! He’s had plenty of preparation, as the vocalist & 2nd drummer of Cinema Show, a Genesis tribute band, and the drummer/vocalist of an ELP tribute, to boot. “This Is Not My World” is a very smooth track that sounds as though Gabriel stuck around for …And Then There Were Three. “France” is the first initial instrumental, very-well arranged with plenty of guitar & keyboard soloing—this comes off as the sort of instrumental IQ would do; as IQ's Martin Orford is a graduate of the Banks School, that should be no hard leap.
”Run To Fall” starts running with that chug-chug-chug rhythmic structure everyone is familiar with (ELP’s “Pirates” being the most obvious example). Again, things are never static: Guerin ditches the even time for odd time and attacks a great analog sound, underscored by a left hand piano cadence—much like Keith would have it. Guerin’s guitar tone even evokes Lake’s KE9 tone. A rather heavier affair is “Victory,” which sounds like neither of the aforementioned groups—fuzzy guitars and synths that recall mid-period Vangelis or even Yanni, before he succumbed to the unholiness that is unsubstantive commerce. On to more Genesis stylings with “Sing My Prayers,” a vocal track with a shift from Gabriel to Collins, complete with a variation on the drum pattern from “Mama.” Grandiose strings add a nice aura, light on the pomp histrionics. The rest of the tracklist is instrumental, beginning with “Son Of Gorp”—which doesn’t live up to its slapstick title—and ending with “Crazy,” a short three-minute instrumental that would fit snugly onto Emerson’s score for Nighthawk—portamentoed synth bits offset digital tones which sub for Banks’ classic Mellotron strings.
An album of original music, and a time-warp back to the classic prog of yesteryear--By The Dark Of Light is your boarding ticket!