In Progress

Signal Failure

Written by: PP on 27/10/2011 01:49:58

Every once in a while as a reviewer you run into a band that sounds remarkably similar to a number of bands from the top of your head, but yet distinctly different in a way that makes it impossible to draw direct parallels or comparisons between them. In Progress, a duo split between New York City and San Francisco, is one of those bands. Their debut album "Signal Failure" represents a sound that can only be described as exceptionally strange and unlike most bands you've come across. It's like Porcupine Tree meets A Perfect Circle meets Nine Inch Nails, all in the same package. Sounds weird? That's because it is.

Essentially, In Progress play a warped and twisted form of progressive rock, which sources some of its eccentric soundscape from electronics and sonic experimentation rather than instrumental wizardry or Dream Theater (like most prog rock bands tend to). The music oozes of elegance and smoothness otherwise whenever the fuzzy electronics and distortion aren't too audible in the mix, a quality preserved by the curiously odd male vocals, which sound like they're sung in a few octaves higher than the singer should be capable of. Contrary to what you might believe, that's not a bad thing in this instance, because it gives the singer and interesting and unique sounding voice.

Sometimes, such as on "This Whole World", they descend down to a heavier and more distorted style reminiscent of Tool. Screaming isn't out of the question either but is used sparingly to maintain the sense of elegance surrounding most tracks. Both styles are interesting, and it certainly isn't the artistic ambition nor stylistic choice that drags down In Progress' rating. Nope, the problem lies within the length of the album. It feels almost never-ending because of the slow and decisively constructive approach to songwriting, so on most listens I've reached track seven out of twelve and felt compelled to switch to something else. That suggests to me that the idea is good, but the execution is seriously lacking, if you cannot hold the interest of the listener for more than just half of the album. Hence, when you place "Signal Failure" next to a release by any of the bands mentioned in this review, it stands inferior in comparison by a long margin, while not necessarily a bad release as such.


Download: Shut Down, This Whole World
For the fans of: Tool, Porcupine Tree, A Perfect Circle, Fates Warning
Listen: Myspace

Release date November 2010

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