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Music Reviews: A Clever Con, Nektar, The Fusion Syndicate, Trail of Murder, Vicious Rumors, and World Fire Brigade

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Well the U.S. election is over and we are all recovering. Here are some good tunes to keep you going.

A Clever Con are a band I have never heard of before. Much like World Fire Brigade below, these guys peddle modern-sounding hard rock on their EP, Mannequin Love: Part 1. And no they do not cover that bloody awful Starship song from the movie Mannequin. This is a decent album and worth a listen.

Nektar are the much loved prog outfit that is forever on the lips of the cognoscenti of that particular genre. Well they have released a covers album that features a whole bunch of class guests on it (including Steve Howe, Rick Wakeman, and Derek Sherinian). A Spoonful of Time sees them tackle songs by Rush and others. Not a fan of covers albums but this one doesn’t have a single cringe worthy track, which is saying something.

An all-star bunch of uber-clever musos (Steve Morse, Billy Sherwood, Rick Wakeman, etc.) got together to record and then release a self-titled album called The Fusion Syndicate, a collection of rock-jazz fusion. It could have been a prog-rock fusion pretentious disaster. However, The Fusion Syndicate is anything but that. It is a clever and seductive exploration of jazz-fusion musicianship which transcends the individuals who created it.

Trail of Murder are a new band featuring members of Tad Morose, Bloodbound, and Morgana LeFay. Shades of Art is clever heavy metal that toys with power metal at every turn. Lead singer Urban Breed sounds like a dead ringer for journeyman Johnny Gioeli of Hardline fame and that is a very good thing. This is a damn good album that gets better with every listen.

Vicious Rumors have released a collection of their songs done live called Live You to Death. It also includes a couple of covers including a brave attempt at Black Sabbath’s “Sign of the Southern Cross” that works mostly. If you are a fan of the band then this live release is decent. They have been around since the ’80s and have lost none of their charm.

World Fire Brigade have released a “modern rock”-sounding disc in the form of Spreading My Wings. Originally I was not so keen on it and thought I had heard it all before. A few listens are required to get the best out of this release but there is meat on them bones.

Well that is your lot this week. Stay safe and rocking out there.

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