Dev, Philip - Pop Prog


Year of Release: 2001
Label: Independent
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 39:42:00

I'm pretty easy going when it comes to judging the music I listen to. I know I'm not overly critical, and tend to like something about what I'm hearing, even if I don't give it an enthusiastic response. Of the hundreds of reviews I've written thus far, I think I've only completely panned 2 or three, and have had middling impressions of a handful of others. I'm not by nature a cruel person - my day job forces me to be very diplomatic, though I have had to catch myself a few times, lest I get defensive. The customer is always right, even if they're wrong, or so the saying goes. Um...anyway, I don't say this to be mean, but I don't care at all for Philip Dev's Pop-Prog release. Some interesting ideas are sketched out, but he doesn't have the resources to develop them as they should have been -- that is, with real musicians or real instruments. Budget, I'm sure, is a real concern. Sure there are folks who use these same kind of synthetic sounding keys, but there is always some element that warms them up. And there are those who overcome their budget constraints, producing terrific stuff. Dev just isn't one of them.

The production is thin, the programmed drums snick very dryly. Vocally, Dev sounds a bit (a very little bit) like both Phil Collins and Peter Gabriel, but uh... not enough like either. It's not the pop aspect to this that I dislike. I can deal with pop in my prog. "Sei Mia Vita" sounds like it could have appeared on that Falco album that spawned the new wave hit "Rock Me Amadeus," though I liked that single a whole lot better. So the pop aspect is synth pop. I haven't really found the prog aspect to this, really, but for a few parpy keyboard phrases and, perhaps, one track. Yes, it's rare that I find an album that doesn't interest me in the least. "Kitzsühel" makes me think of neon lights and some Japanese pop-artists penchant for neon colored clothes that clash terribly. Or perhaps of plastic toys of the same bright hues. Never been my cup of tea, however.

"Musikado" is one of the more interesting pieces with some nice keyboards to start with, some piano that follows through and plays behind the subtle vocals (though it would have been great as an instrumental). When it gets into a more electronica realm, it loses much of its warmth ... and then just goes nowhere. There's some blustery organ work on "Cathedral," but... there's some displeasing distortion at times in the middle...well, Dev is no Wakeman. Okay, that's not fair, few are.

"Aérobike" sounds a bit like something Elvis Costello would have done about 25 years ago ... and better. This reveals, though, some of the better aspects of Dev's music -- see, something nice -- the keyboards. This track does include some nice, though generic, guitar work as well. The album rocks a little more with "Triathlon Lady," maybe the best vocal track here. It struts and snarls like something we might hear from, oh, say Iggy Pop -- but for the keys.

Ah, then after listening to all of this subpar ear candy - more cotton candy than a Hershey bar - we get the prog rock epic "The Boat." This does sound like something from early Genesis, including Dev's vocal resemblance to Gabriel. Keyboards swell and undulate behind Dev's fragile vocals. Chalk this up as, hands down, the most interesting track here. This is the direction Dev should go in, though, unfortunately, he'll get blasted as a Genesis clone. Not perfect; it's not like it's a gem hidden among the rocks, but the raw material is there that with a little polishing it could be gem. "Jupiter" which ends the album is playful piece with some tasty bass work from Dev. It's a little disjointed and eccentric, but... not although as trying as the stuff that comes before it.

So, we wade through 9 mostly subpar compositions to hear three onpar pieces, and are still left with nothing afterwards.


Tracklisting:
Never Enough (4:03) / Kartman (3:53) / Sei Mia Vita (3:03) / Football Attraction (3:02) / Musikado (3:50) / Kitzb?hel (3:13) / Cathedral (1:43) / Turbo Love (3:13) / Aéerobike (4:19) / Triathlon Lady (3:26) / The Boat (3:44) / Jupiter (2:12)

Musicians:
Philip Dev - vocals, keyboards, guitars, programming, bass
Lyz Daiv - backing vocals

Discography:
Pop Prog (2001)

Genre: Rock

Origin FR

Added: July 16th 2002
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Score:
Artist website: perso.wanadoo.fr/philipdev
Hits: 568
Language: english

  

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