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2011-11-30 – (Review)

Originally published at:

Great & Terrible Potions
(Desert Comb Music)

Back in the 1970’s, if an Lp cover had a Roger Dean cover art, it was an instant best seller. Well, early Dean believers, the YES group is still out there and Roger also keeps his hands in the game with his smashing cover art work gracing the cover of the 2011 CD release of Great & Terrible Potions by Australian prog-rock maven Ben Craven. Although he wasn’t yet born during the heyday of the 1969 prog-rock revolution, Craven more than makes up for lost time with his magical musical potions. Performing all the instruments and vocals himself, Craven splits his time between prog-rock and instrumental prog-fusion but either way—performing guitars, keys and drums—Ben really delivers the goods on a CD that will sit well on the shelf or Ipod of any respectable prog-rock fan. As far as musical influences go, Ben cites Pink Floyd, Brian Wilson and John Barry as big influences. You can hear Ben’s devotion to the progressive rock slide of Pink Floyd and Brian Wilson’s majestic and melodic harmonies and you can also detect Ben’s fascination with the cinematic approach to soundtracks that John Barry brought to the music world starting in the early 1960’s. Of course, with the Great & Terrible Potions CD featuring that Roger Dean artwork you guessed right if you were thinking Ben was also a big YES fan and that influence further materializes and in fact, sometimes evokes the Billy Sherwood era YES, when the greatest prog-rock band ever successfully merged power-pop and progressive rock into a new mixture called power-prog—a sound still quite alive and well on Ben’s modern day prog-rock masterpiece.