There's something about Voyager's sound on their fourth LP The Meaning of I that I can't put my finger on, that I can't quite describe. With their interesting polyrhythmic sensations, illustrative, sometimes quirky, keyboards, and Danny Estrin's both consistent and mercurial vocals, this work sounds like a collision of 80's electronic new wave with more traditional progressive rock. Damn, that was long description. But, I could also be way off base here as that first (or second) impression is quite elusive. Sounds like prog to me.
If anything, that paragraph will digress to a singular fact: The Meaning of I is provocative and intriguing. It's also clever, catchy, and entertaining. It blurs distinctions between progressive and melodic rock and metal, with maybe more than a few more caveats and genres to boot. Honestly, it's fine material. And Danny Estrin is an amazing vocalist; his vocals and the overall vocal arrangements nearly steal the show.
Again, I'm not sure if there's a distinction between metal and rock in a progressive form here. The title cut has a big riffage start, smacking of metal, and similar attitude is found on the opener Momentary Relapse. The former has a slight and quick notion of dirty vocals. Why? But heaviness aside, there's some simple, harder or heavier, depending on your perspective, melodic rock throughout. It's satisfyingly catchy on the wonderful State into the Night and Seize the Day. It's eclectic and up tempo sounds on the ironically titled Iron Dream. It's still classy and catchy. Fire of the Times might remind of melodic metal, at least at the start, but quickly turns to melodic hard rock, with an edge, thanks to some slick guitar work and a strong rhythm section. Ultimately and collectively, this work must be listened as a whole with a large disregard to preconceptions. Again: sounds like prog to me.
Honestly, if a characteristic of prog rock is unpredictability and intrigue, then The Meaning of I delivers beyond measure. Yet, besides the intrigue, the overarching theme is a simple underlying motif: very catchy melodic rock, and sometimes bordering on metal, in enigmatic prog wrapper.
I listen to a lot of progressive music, rock, metal and otherwise, and sometimes it all blurs together (as it has in this week). But, thankfully, Voyager's The Meaning of I transcends the normal. This is delightful, inventive, and invigorating music. Get it!
If a characteristic of prog rock is unpredictability and intrigue, then The Meaning of I delivers beyond measure. Yet, besides the intrigue, the overarching theme is a simple underlying motif: very catchy melodic rock, sometimes bordering on metal, in enigmatic prog wrapper.