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APOLOGIES

Sorry about not re-posting. I've an illness in my family, but I will reply to all ASAP. For the time being, my beautiful friend, Eva is helping me out. Thank you for your understanding...Paul

2.2.10

Land's End




Land's End - Natural Selection - 1997 - Cyclops

This album is a wonderful piece of music that deftly combines elements such as Pink Floyd, Marillion, Genesis, and Yes, and turns them into an original and very intriguing work. It includes complex and well thought out arrangements, powerful lyrics, solid musicianship, and strong vocals to create a piece of work that really gets to you. The drumming on this album calls to mind the dramatic percussion work of Phil Collins on the older Genesis albums. The vocal work is some of the most emotionally evocative you probably will ever hear. The album closer is an epic piece that spotlights the unfairness of the American system in relation to the common man. Lands End is Mark Lavallee, Fred Hunter, Francesco Neto, and Jeff McFarland. With Natural Selection, the group has certainly created a powerful progressive rock work that holds up to the best of many works by '70s prog greats. © Gary Hill, All Music Guide, © 2010 Answers Corporation, http://www.answers.com/topic/natural-selection-album

Being familiar with the band's previous material, I went fishing for "Natural Selection" and ended up being the one that got hooked. "Natural Selection" is perhaps the most sophisticated LANDS END album yet. If their previous material was wonderfully intriguing, this album is simply brilliant. As usual, the music on it is loaded with charm and allure, but it also showcases a cohesiveness never yet found on their previous material. All six tracks are absolutely divine but the real doozie has to be the title track. Although you'll never hear me equate tracklength with quality, I guarantee you won't want to let this one down until you've heard all 30 minutes of it. It is replete with luscious melodies, weird guitar sound effects and time changes that come in so naturally, the track flows as one and even seems too short! The unexpected German lyrics at some point add to the seduction, but it is the combination of some achingly beautiful musical themes with the spacey, watery arrangements and tight drumming that mesmerizes. At some point, you may hear echoes of PINK FLOYD (the "Brain Damage" track from "Dark Side of the Moon" comes to mind), but you'll never mistake this music for some floydian sound-alike, bubble-gum psychedelia. It's unique, magical, fascinating. © Hibou, © Prog Archives, All rights reserved, http://www.progarchives.com/Review.asp?id=4361

Good modern psychedelic progressive rock album with shades of Genesis, Yes, and Pink Ployd. The music is original, inventive, and often enthralling. The first track, "Strictly Speaking in Geographical Terms" is a 63 second track of subdued, almost subliminal music, and really doesn't have much to offer. The final 30 minute track, "Natural Selection", composed of four pieces loses it's cohesiveness and continuity at times, but still it's different, and you will play it again. Try and listen to the band's "Drainage" album

TRACKS

1 Strictly Speaking in Geographical Terms
2 From the Ruins of a Fallen Empire
3 Love Through the Winter and Blood in the Spring
4 An Emptiness That's Never Filled...
5 My Home
6 Natural Selection (30:00)
(i) Unravelling The Threads Of A Waning Moon - 4:11
(ii) Meridians Of Time - 2:08
(iii) The Theory And Practice Of Hell: Practice - 6:16 / Theory - 2:00 / & Hell - 9:20
(iv) Awaiting Extinction - 6:05

All songs composed by Land's End, except Track 4, by Jeff McFarland

BAND

Francisco Neto (Guitar Acoustic), (Guitar Electric), (Guitar), (Synthesizer)
Jeff McFarland (Vocals), (Guitar Acoustic), (Guitar Bass)
Fred Hunter (Pedals), (Keyboards), (Bass)
Mark Lavallee (Drums)
Mark Lavallee (Percussion)

SHORT BIO

In 1991, there was a group called Spiritual Endings that included Sean Villaros and Mark Lavallee. In 1992, after a few personnel changes, including the addition of Fred Hunter, they changed their name to Fainting in Coils. That name did not stay around a long time, since before the end of the year, the group, by then a three-piece, changed their name to Lands End. By 1994, they released their first CD, Pacific Coast Highway. The next CD by the group was 1995's Terra Serranum on a new label, Cyclops. This was followed in 1996 by An Older Land, which was mostly earlier material that had not yet been released. Next up was their finest disc, Natural Selection. Released in 1998, the disc was two years in the making, and it was brilliant enough to be worth it. In 1999, the group followed up with Drainage. Drainage was a live album that included some material that wouldn't fit on Natural Selection. © Gary Hill, All Music Guide, © 2010 Answers Corporation, http://www.answers.com/topic/lands-end

MORE ABOUT BAND / ALBUM

Based in California, Lands End plays classic keyboard-heavy symphonic progressive with a full majestic sound that took me back to the 70's, but manages to avoid the generic neo-prog sound. Scattered throughout the disc can be heard brief freaky synth bits and Tangerine Dreamy keyboards that give the music a spacey edge similar to the way 70's band FM had crossed over slightly into the space realm. The band consists of Jeff McFarland on vocals, acoustic guitars, and bass, Francisco Neto on guitars and guitar synth, Fred Hunter on keyboards and bass, and Mark Lavallee on drums and percussion. "Natural Selection" is Lands End's fourth release (they have five total). I read on the Lands End web site that they started out as a psychedelic band having played such covers as "Careful With That Axe Eugene" before evolving into a more classic progressive sound. Early Genesis is the comparison that most comes to mind, but Mexican band Cast is the 90's band that would be a good comparison. Beautiful soaring guitar leads that typified classic progressive are here, along with solid arrangements that develop smoothly as numerous themes are developed on the CD's extended tracks. "My Home" is one of my favorite songs with its stinging wah guitar on an interesting track that combines raw jamming psychedelia with the band's trademark progressive sound. A powerful tuneThe CD's title track is the longest at 30 minutes, but in my opinion is the one weak point of the set. It takes about 9 minutes to get going, the first portion feeling like a lot of slow-going noodling about. But once it kicks in it becomes quite intense and the remainder of the song includes jarring start-stop rhythms and the guitar sound is darker, rawer in spots, and more aggressive like on "My Home". But while the song has lots of solid segments and numerous good ideas, what we really have here is two or three solid tunes and several minutes that could be dropped. In summary, Lands End would most certainly appeal to fans of classic 70's progressive rock. Knowing they started out as a psych band kept me on my toes listening to any returns to their roots, but don't let the few psych references I made give you the idea that's what this band is about. It's not. But even a few hints help to give Lands End an edge that pushes them well beyond the crop of standard neo-prog filling up the market. © Jerry Kranitz, http://www.aural-innovations.com/issues/issue11/landsend.html [ From Aural Innovations #11 (July 2000) ]