Review of White Rock submitted on 4th May 2003
White Rock was my first Rickís album and in spite having got it nearly twenty-five years ago, itís listening still arises powerful emotions. Luckily enough recently Iíve laid my hands on a CD version (Thanks Mr. Bartosik)because the original Album was completely worn-out. The main theme is a never-ending solo, played full steam ahead and itís a perfect example of Rickís dazzling dexterity with the Moogs. Searching for Gold is pure and delicate whilst The Loser and After the Ball blend together Steinway Grand Piano and electronic keyboards with a result which is beyond words. The Shoot is energetic and Laxíx surprises with all its variations of sounds and directions. Ice Run closes the album, and starts in an introspective mood that towards the end changes to a rocky organ. Needless to say, here and there on Side One, there are some fine touches of Choir, just for a good measure. According to Rickís words on his autobiography (Say Yes), the album was a blend of synthesized rock and acoustic melodies and it got excellent reviews at the time. The success wasnít by chance though. In spite of not being a super-production like the epics Journey to The Center of The Earth and King Arthur, White Rock has an atmosphere and textures of sounds and melodies that are unique and thus wonderful.
Review of Out There submitted on 27th May 2003
Out There is the best album Rick has unveiled over the last years and I suppose it's everything the fans were waiting for. The album is energetic, cohesive and musically very strong. More than a solo effort, it's a band album, and Rick is at service of the music, synths and guitars many times running together and fighting for room. As for ERE, throughout the album they are brilliant and incredibly tight. The title track is an epic of the best vintage and with the tempo variations and choir that comes in to add the classical element, it can be considered as equal to Journey and Arthur. Apart from that, halfway the end of the piece there is a synth solo (Moog, I dare say) which is to absolutely die for. "The Mission" keeps the high vibes and presents Rick on a solo organ that takes me back to the seventies and I just loved it. (Apart from Rick and Keith Emerson, is anyone out there Ė no pun intended Ė still messing around with Mini Moogs and Organs?) Tony introduces "To Be With You" and this piece has a sentimental mood. Again the chorus is present and it fades away leading the end of the song. "Universe of Sound" is breathtaking and it also presents very good solos, but there are strong echoes of "Never is a Long Time" from "Return" casting a shadow on some parts of it. On the foreword, Rick explains that the Album's writing started more or less 5 years ago, let's say circa 1997. "Return" was recorded in 1998 released in early 1999; so it's possible that "Never is a Long Time" has the echoes of "The Mission" instead. Nonetheless, the similarities are evident. "Music of Love" is strong and intense and here the keyboards conduct the piece along with the guitars. By the mid of the piece Rick throws a solo that if this song is ever played on stage, I'm sure it would be extended and it would be really something. Having read other reviews whilst awaiting the arrival of my CD from Amazon I had high expectations about "Cathedral of the Sky" but I have to say I was disappointed with it, because all the right elements are there, church organ, choir and Rick, but the opening riff which is repeated throughout the piece is rather corny and does not correspond to Rick standards (Yes, I can hear the moans and groans, but I had to say that). Probably productions costs prevented the use of a real church organ, and the result is that it sounds a bit synthetic. Anyway, this is a great album and for the reasons above mentioned I give it 9 out of 10. It's 100 per cent prog rock (I've read this elsewhere) and highly recommended not only to the fans, but also to everyone who loves great music.