Alright, confession time. There are large areas of the musical landscape I listen to pretty regularly but haven't written about and probably never will. And there's various reasons for that. For instance, popular releases are bound to be well covered elsewhere, adding my thoughts to it just seems redundant. Then there is the time factor, as in, so much music, so little time. But there's also music I enjoy but don't understand fully enough to articulate how I feel about it.
The third reason is a good explanation of why I hadn't really discussed progressive rock until now. I've been into it since it's seventies heyday, but there's always a fine line between artistry and pretentiousness. I'm not about to dissect nineteen minute, multi-suite rock symphonies to try and make a call as to which side of the fence it falls on. If it sounds good to me, I'm just gonna enjoy the ride and not worry about it.
So yeah, I dig me some King Crimson, Yes, ELP, early Genesis, Soft Machine and some of the various spinoff groups. That said, it's impossible to enjoy all of it; they did get a little full of themselves at some point.
The nineties saw a sort of a resurgence of the classic prog rock sound and newer bands like Porcupine Tree, Spock's Beard, The Flower Kings, Ozric Tentacles, and Echolyn are among those I can get into on most days. (Dream Theater is another obvious mention but they sound too metal for my tastes, although Mike Portnoy is a phenomenal drummer.) Some of these neo prog bands are almost carbon copy throwbacks to the sounds of a generation ago; others make a good attempt for bringing the genre forward.
Spock's Beard probably falls more into the former category. They wear their Yes influences on their sleeves. The good news is that in spite of being largely unoriginal, they are all fine musicians who can recreate the drawn out, constantly shifting pieces sprinkled with melodic folk interludes of the classic Yes period with near perfection, and it's leader Neal Morse is a better than average vocalist and a superb songwriter. Since there's no more Close To The Edge's forthcoming from Yes, this is as good as it's going to get insofar as "new" classic Yes is concerned.