PRESTO BALLET is no longer an unknown band to progressive rock fans, with four albums under their belt proving they are among the best in this field, at least in America.
Founded by Metal Church's guitarist Kurdt Vanderhoof, Presto Ballet evokes a classic '70s feel, a return to a time when music was at its most colorful and influential.
However, their new album "Relic Of The Modern World" adds more contemporary elements to the music still paying homage to the greats sounds of classic prog rock.
"Relic Of The Modern World" is an album full of tasteful guitar parts, crunching Hammond organ and rich vocals.
Presto Ballet's music is an upbeat mixture of Hemispheres-era Rush and Kansas, heartwarming melodic prog that gets the tenants of being 'prog' down, without necessarily crossing over and getting truly inventive with it.
The compositions here could be labelled as being neo-prog in the sense that they are very melodic and rarely get too complex.
Possibly the most notable inprovement to the band is new vocalist Chuck Campbell, much more melodious than previous vocalist Ronny Munroe. On some passages he gives to the music almost a Melodic Rock feel, as heard on "Watching The Radio" and "Broken Toys".
It's in the title track consisting of various parts where Presto Ballet unleashes their love for retro prog. And don't be scared, it's very entertaining.
I love the range of keyboard sounds that are heard on this long composition. From rich organs to lead synths, Kerry Shacklett adds some great depth to the sound of the band.
Vanderhoof is obviously a very good guitarist in his own right, but he rarely lets loose and overblown the listener; his riffs are always kept within the context of the song.
"Relic Of The Modern World" is a lovable (and truly enjoyable) piece of classic prog played, recorded and produced in the old-fashioned way.
We have amusing compositions recorded using an analog tape machine, analog synthesizers, real Hammond organ and real Mellotron sounds.
The prog retro feel is present more in an American vein than the kind of stuff that was coming out of the UK at the time.
Fans of the likes of Kansas, Styx and Rush will find much to enjoy in "Relic Of The Modern World", with some great instrumental interplay present amongst the melodic hooks.
01 - The Chemical Age
02 - Watching The Radio
03 - Broken Toys
04 - Prelude To Farewell
05 - Relic Of The Modern World
Kurdt Vanderhoof - Guitars, additional Keys
Chuck Campbell - Vocals
Kerry Shacklett - Keyboards, backing vocals
Bobby Ferkovich - Bass, backing vocals
Chris G - Drums