NMB is the new abbreviation used by the Neal Morse Band, kinda like ELP or ELO. They are back with another double album, “Innocence & Danger.” Unlike the last two albums, this is not a concept record and to be honest, I was relieved. I like those albums but they never hit me the same way that “The Grand Experiment” has. “Innocence & Danger” is their best since that album but for me, it’s just their best ever. In fact, I think it’s the best that Neal Morse has done solo wise and ranks along side anything he has ever been a part of. Yeah it’s that good!
It’s so good that I am writing this. I stopped doing “reviews” but I had to at least mention how good this album is. 2021 has been a bit underwhelming for me musically. There are a few albums that I would say are incredible but so many more are completely forgettable. I wasn’t expecting “Innocence & Danger” to rock my world and yet I was floored on the first listen! Why? The songs are all just really strong. Of course the playing is stellar but that’s not enough. The melodies are incredibly memorable and the vocals are just phenomenal, especially Eric Gillette.
NMB even manage to do an awesome version of the classic “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” as I am not a Simon and Garfunkel fan, this was a big surprise. It’s akin to what Yes did years ago with “America.” There are epics but they are on disc 2 with the 30 minute closer “Beyond The Years” being the jewel. Songs that long can go one of two ways. Either you are looking at the time wondering when it will end or you listen to it and don’t realize it was actual a half hour song. This one is the latter.
The bottom line is “Innocence & Danger” is one of my favorite albums of 2021 and I find myself wanting to hear it again after finishing it. Considering how jaded I have been with music this year, I thank the Neal Morse Band (NMB) for making such a fantastic album. If you’ve been on the fence at all with Neal’s solo stuff, you need to check out this album. Fans of prog or just good music will need their dose of “Innocence & Danger.”
Label: InsideOut Music
Release Date: August 27, 2021