The Great Deception

Seconds Before Landing

Twelve24music, 2013

REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray


A fascinating, flawed debut, The Great Deception is baffling, entertaining, and rich with layers so deep that it takes multiple listens to catch everything going on.

The work is an honest-to-God progressive rock concept album, a rarity in the current musical landscape, with a story about a bleak future society. Each song is linked with an old commercial from the 1960s, sort of like my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 The Who Sell Out but for actual products and without the humor.

The playing is impressive, avoiding the virtuoso traps so prevalent on other prog rock albums, and although John Crispino is the man in charge, a bevy of musicians back him up, including King Crimson guitarist Trey Gunn and Vanilla Fudge bassist Tim Bogert. The music is at turns ambient noodling, low-end rock and acoustic pop, channeling Pink Floyd, the shorter side of Tool and the Alan Parsons Project.

Like the more atmospheric works that inspired it, this disc is more about mood and feel, ebb and flow, than a collection of songs. The first few float by in a haze, a collection of keyboards, slow drums and computerized voices, and it’s not until the sarcastic I, Robot-inspired “They’re All Around You” that things really kick in. The songs alternate between this more upbeat approach and the chilled-out haze of “Down On Me,” though many take the latter approach, making this difficult to get through (it’s 68 minutes long) in one sitting without falling asleep.

Had the disc been trimmed by a few songs, including the insipid closer “Mikey Get Your Accordion,” this could have warranted a place with some of the great neo-prog bands of the day. Still, ambition frequently outstrips results in this genre, and Crispino is not to be ignored. Taken in small doses, The Great Deception is an impressive, thoughtful piece of work that’s easier to admire than love, though it’s still an impressive debut from a band worth keeping an eye on.

Rating: C+

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