2011-08-30 – Babysue (Review)

Originally published at http://www.babysue.com/2011-Sept-LMNOP-Reviews.html#anchor304566

Ben Craven – Great & Terrible Potions (CD, Desert Comb Music, Progressive)

Over the past few years there has been an incredible resurgence in the field of progressive rock music from the 1970s. We couldn’t even count the number of bands who cite 1970s progressive rock bands as their major influence. But even more recently there has been an even stranger phenomenon…an increasing number of artists are not only influenced by the sound…but are rather focused on recreating the exact ideas and sounds to a T. Australia’s Ben Craven fits into the latter category. Craven is the ultimate one man band. He wrote, recorded, arranged, and produced everything on Great & Terrible Potions. The album recalls a host of artists from the past…but we can hear particular similarities to Greenslade and Uriah Heep (much more the former than the latter). But some of the cool spacey guitar playing sounds straight out of Todd Rundgren‘s Utopia. In the grand tradition of 1970s progressive rock, the album contains both instrumentals and vocal tracks. And topping it all off is fantastic cover art provided by none other than Roger Dean. The sleeve even includes a foldout poster/lyric sheet. Ben obviously spent a great deal of time writing and recording these tracks. The attention to detail is truly impressive. Listening to this is like hearing a group of British 1970s musicians using the latest technology to record their music. One of the more intriguing progressive albums of the past few years…