Another progressive rock super group has formed, OSI. Office
of Strategic Influence sounds like a combination of Porcupine Tree
and The Flower Kings. Steven Wilson of PT actually is the guest
singer on the track ShutDOWN (notice the emphasis on the word down),
which makes my observation valid and obvious to the listener familiar
with the bands I have mentioned.
This is everything one would expect from this group of established
prog-rockers, well, almost. The sounds consist of a mixture of hard
driving prog-metal and ethereal Pink Floyd influenced tracks.
The combination will certainly be both pleasing and enjoyable for
a large cross section of progressive rock listeners.
ShutDOWN is a prolific track figuratively and musically. The words
carry a very strong message to the listener, such as- Shut down your
body, shut down your skin, shutdown your kisses, shutdown within.
These words continually come at you throughout the song, advising
you to shutdown all of your senses or pay the consequences. It sounds
as if a despot is speaking to you, which I find interesting considering
world events currently. The other track that caught my ear and challenged
my senses was Standby (Looks like Rain), which is an exceptional piece
of music, is simply mesmerizing. It has an atmospheric texture that
sucked me in and then owned me after only a few minutes into the track.
At the end of the disc, there is a bonus video available for viewing
as well. Shot in black and white, it is confusing and disturbing,
and I am not sure what it all meant. It reminded me of a video that
was on the Porcupine Tree album Absentia. To be honest, there
were too many comparisons to PT on this album; just the same, I loved
it. Former Dream Theater keyboard player Kevin Moore provides
the vocals treatments, which I found disappointing with the overuse
of electronics and camouflaging of his voice, then at times he was
allowed to bring forth his true essence, albeit briefly, hence I was
reminded of Swedens Flower Kings. There were consistencies
that I did not like and inconsistencies that I did, it sounds weird
but that was my own personal perception of the album. I hope next
time out, if there actually is a next time, Moores vocals stand alone
to resonate naturally around the music and their sound originates
by their own design without any outside influences, like Steve Wilson,
who seemed to set the tone for the entire recording. There are clips
from TV and radio broadcasts used in the songs as well, mostly unintelligible,
except for a Dan Rathers snippet, which provided yet another distraction to the music.
With the talent available on this recording, on a scale of 1 to 10
it could have easily been a 10. I think it was a seven with room for
improvement and some changes. Although I really did enjoy it, I felt
it could have been better. Regardless of my criticisms, I am sure
hard-core prog-heads will get off on this album.
1. The New Math (What He Said)
3. When You're Ready
4. Horseshoes And B-52's
6. Hello, Helicopter!
8. Dirt From A Holy Place
9. Memory Daydreams Lapses
10. Standby (Looks Like Rain)
Video-Horseshoes and B-52s
Jim Matheos guitars, keyboards, programming
Kevin Moore vocals, keyboards, programming
Mike Portnoy drums
Sean Malone bass, stick
Steven Wilson vocals on "ShutDOWN"