Album review: OLLOCS – Outer Edge

Ollocs - Outer Edge

Self released  [Release date: 24.10.15]

Okay, let’s get the issue of the name out of the way first. Ollocs. What were they thinking of?

Ollocs, whilst lending itself to a myriad of infantile jokes (I was thinking of giving it a ‘B’ as my rating…), would be the band-name of choice for a Cockney ‘Oi!’ pub band, not, as is actually the case, for a rather fine progressive rock band from New York.

Had they called themselves ‘Celestial Voyage’ or something similar they could well have attracted a modicum of interest from the prog cognoscenti – as it stands, ‘Outer Edge’ is the band’s third studio effort and they are definitely hiding their considerable light under a band-name bushel.

Describing themselves as a heavy prog band, ‘Outer Edge’ is anything but, being a mostly pastoral and delicate acoustic outing saving any heaviness until the closing track.

Checking out their back catalogue, it would appear that the band’s first album, ‘Life Thread’ was a heavy(ish) album but this was followed up with another laid-back affair in ‘Cosmic Shift’.

Citing acoustic guitar virtuoso Erik Mongrain as a major influence, Ollocs have delivered an exquisitely intense and fragile instrumental work that will easily stand comparison with any similar album in the genre – check out ‘Reflection’, its chilled-out spaciness bringing to mind Fleetwood Mac’s classic ‘Albatross’.

Although each track is basically picked guitar overlaid onto swelling keyboard and piano flourishes, each is sufficiently different and intriguing in its own right to sustain interest throughout, and – certainly if played through headphones – the coherent whole transports the listener to a faraway place, limited only by the boundaries of his/her imagination.

If there is a downside it’s that the album’s five tracks clock in at a paltry 26 minutes, but there’s good stuff in little parcels and if time is limited to a quick shot of tranquil progressive rock, you’d go a long way to find much better than this.    ****

Review by Alan Jones

Alan sequences “The Eclectic Mix” on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, third Sunday of the month at 16:00. Expect some prog.


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