ALAN MORSE


"Four O'Clock and Hysteria" (SPV / Inside Out; 2007)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

Spock’s Beard was one of the first progressive rock bands I was introduced to during my early days writing for Rough Edge. While I was always impressed by Spock’s Beard it was sometimes difficult to reconcile the band’s inclusion to the Rough Edge pages given the fact that the site typically caters to a heavier slant.

Anyway, one of the interesting facets of Spock’s Beard was the brother tandem of Neal and Alan Morse. It always struck me that Alan Morse was playing in the broad shadow of his brother Neal as Neal always got the lion’s share of attention during his time in the band. However, once Neal Morse left Spock’s Beard I figured Alan would get his time in the spotlight. While Spock’s Beard continued in the same grand progressive rock tradition as it always had, Alan never really seemed to grab any more attention. But maybe that’s what he wanted – or at least it was the best approach for Spock’s Beard the band rather than Alan Morse the musician.

While I'm certain Spock’s Beard will continue, it’s nice to see how another member of the band releases a solo project. This is great if only for the reason that music fans get to see more of the personality that comprises a great band. Alan Morse’s solo project is titled “Four O’Clock and Hysteria.” The album is an all-instrumental affair that presents a solid mix of predominantly fusion-y jazz-rock. The album sports mature and confident songs; the well-thought out compositions are daring without being too wild. The performances are heightened by the inclusion of styles ranging from rock to pop to jazz to funk and a little bit of everything in-between.

“Four O’Clock and Hysteria” is definitely more rockin’ than most of the material that made up Spock’s Beard. The majority of the tracks are up-tempo rockers with “The Rite of Left” being a particular highlight for its heavy approach and symphonic solo. The slower tracks feature soaring melodies with “Drive-In Shuffle” being a good example. The bottom line is that the album balances sounds heard in the fusion era (i.e. the late ‘70s) with the sounds heard during the guitar shred era (the mid-’80s).

“Four O’Clock and Hysteria” isn’t very metal, but it is very pleasing and satisfying. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that I enjoy Alan Morse’s solo disc a bit more than Neal’s solo material.

“Four O’clock and Hysteria” was co-produced by Alan Morse and Neal Morse.

Alan Morse is joined by Neal Morse on keyboards, Gary Lunn on bass, and Scott Williamson on drums. Also contributing are Jerry Goodman on electric violin, Eric Darken on percussion, Dave Meros on drums, Nick D’Virgilio on drums, and Ryo Okumoto on keyboards. 

For more information visit http://www.alanmorse.com/ 


Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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Copyright © 2007 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 15 Mar 2017 23:33:44 -0500.