Is the self titled debut album by Pattern-Seeking Animals really just a Spock’s Beard album in disguise? You could certainly argue that. The band is composed of two current members of Spock’s Beard, singer Ted Leonard and bassist Dave Meros, along with former drummer Jimmy Keegan and the band’s chief songwriter (since Neal Morse left), John Boegehold on keys. So if nothing else, Pattern-Seeking Animals are a variation of Spock’s Beard…and not all that much different. It works for me though.
The album has a mix of longer epic tracks in the 10 minute range and shorter prog/pop songs. The main difference is that with Leonard on guitar and Boegehold on keys, the sound is not the same as SB. Like I said, it’s close. Boegehold doesn’t rely overplaying but rather he is all about melody and the choice of instruments. For example, the mellotron on “Orphans Of The Universe” makes the song for me. It’s the mood needed for the track.
The shorter songs are all really solid and damn catchy while still being progressive. “The Same Mistakes Again” is a favorite, great chorus. The riff on “No One Ever Died And Made Me King” makes the song which shows Leonard is a better guitarist than I would have expected! The one song which doesn’t quite stack up to the rest is “These Are My Things.” Mainly it’s the lyrics. They just seem odd. But the instrumental break on the track does salvage things.
“Fall Away” is an excellent ballad that (like most of this album) would not sound out of place on a Spock’s Beard album. And that brings us back to the first question. Pattern-Seeking Animals are basically Spock’s Beard. Leonard puts on his usual vocal pyrotechnics. It’s great to hear Keegan destroying the drums again, plus he does some great vocals here and there on the album too. If you are a Spock’s Beard fan, this album is a must have. Those who prefer their prog a touch less overblown (it can happen) will need this album as well. I am already looking forward to the next album!
1. No Burden Left To Carry (09:38)
2. The Same Mistakes Again (05:10)
3. Orphans Of The Universe (10:28)
4. No One Ever Died And Made Me King (03:54)
5. Fall Away (04:47)
6. These Are My Things (04:52)
7. We Write The Ghost Stories (03:22)
8. No Land’s Man (05:35)
9. Stars Along The Way (10:20)
Label: InsideOut Music
Release Date: 5 July 2019