By now you have all hopefully at least heard of this band and given them a good listen (or seen them live since they totally slay), but if you haven’t for some reason you should really do yourself a huuuuge favor and pick this one up. I think this is the most solid album they have put out to date (which I will probably also say about their next album since they just keep getting better and better). They are by far the best prog rock band around at this point and have shown themselves to be equals to the likes of Yes and King Crimson at their peak.
Like every great prog album, this one seems to have a theme to it. In a nutshell that theme appears to be an exploration of the desire of certain segments of humanity to conquer the unknown, often for the sole purpose of possession (or that is what I got out of it at least, if you have an alternate interpretation or are more in the know please be in touch). There are recurring themes of man crossing the land bridge, Native American conversion, and the idea that if we haven’t been able to figure out how to exist on the planet that we currently inhabit, how the hell are we going to colonize other planets….or should we even try? That is a lot of conceptual territory to cover and mull over and the music on this album is equally as complex and no less profound. With each listen, a new piece of this puzzle surfaces to regain your rapt attention.
Musically speaking, this album treads a lot of the same territory as some of the more recent Oneida albums and the earlier Mothers of Invention albums, but does so with such interesting twists and perfect arrangements that these and all other comparisons are quickly rendered moot. Very rarely is music this highbrow so easily accessible, but this album is one that can be enjoyed on many many levels. This release came little later in the year, and if I already hadn’t submitted my “best of list” this one would definitely have been on it. Anyway, if the previous three paragraphs of gushing about fantastic this record is haven’t already convinced you that you need to check this one out, than nothing ever will. 10/10 -- Kevin Richards (22 January, 2009)