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When is a prog-rock band not a prog-rock band? When it concerns Pennies By The Pound. By that, I mean that if your idea of the difficult “progressive” tag is one of overly-intricate and ornate sonic suites, perhaps set in Mordor or Avalon or some futuristic otherworld, then this isn’t going to tick so many boxes for you. Perhaps think of it this way. Ironically, much of the music made under the label “progressive rock” is anything but, the music seeming to yearn for the late sixties. But just as the neo-prog wave of the early eighties, refined and evolved that sound, which has later honed and moved on with bands such as Muse, Tinyfish, and Porcupine Tree, so Pennies By The Pound keeps the creative ball rolling.
“Burning Wish”, owes much to perhaps Marillion and Pendragon than anything that went before. As such it sits on the border of the progressive realm at a point where psychedelic and alt-rock brush along its sonic shores. The result is just complex enough to be intriguing but not so much so that it feels elitist. There is no showboating, sure there is a display of virtuosic playing and deft song-crafting but at no point does any of this seem more important than the song itself. Instead, the various passages and dynamic changes feel like a natural musical storyline rather than just a series of unconnected interludes designed to showcase the player rather than the song.
Progressive rock, if this is even progressive rock in the sense that most people might understand it, has come of age, Pennies By The Pound in general and “Burning Wish”, in particular, are all the proof you need.
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