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Album Reviews

Short album reviews by The Prog Yak.  No puffery here, just a simple review and score from 1 to 5 yaks!  Have a new album you'd like The Prog Yak to review?  Let us know.

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The Prog Yak
Four Sides
4.5

4.5

Yaks

Four Sides

Monarch Trail

521

#

Canada

I must confess, before today I was not familiar with the Canadian prog band, Monarch Trail, even though they have just released their fourth album, and Kevin Baird, the band's founder, has five solo albums. But when two of my trusted sources, Scot Lade and Mayer More, both messaged me today, telling me I needed to check out Monarch Trail’s new album, “Four Sides,” I was naturally intrigued. Scot called Monarch Trail “Canada’s Genesis,” so how could I not drop everything to take a listen?

The band isn’t on any of the streaming services, and since the album came out today, I didn’t want to wait around to hear back from the band about a promo copy for review. So, I purchased the album from their Bandcamp page to give it a listen. I was not disappointed, and it was money well spent.

Monarch Trail

But when two of my trusted sources, Scot Lade and Mayer More, both messaged me today, telling me I needed to check out Monarch Trail’s new album...and...Scot called Monarch Trail “Canada’s Genesis,” so how could I not drop everything to take a listen?

The album only has five tracks but clocks in at around 73 minutes, with the first three tracks all being epics, well over 15 minutes each. Although the second track, the 20-minute “Eris,” starts with 10 minutes of wind and atmospheric sounds, so in my mind, it’s really a 10-minute song, and for me, the weakest of the three epics. However, the other two epics it’s sandwiched between, “The Oldest of Trees” (22+ minutes) and “Twenty K” (17+ minutes), do not disappoint and provide the meat of the album.

The album ends with two shorter tracks, leaning heavily instrumentally, which provide a very nice ending to the epics.

I concur with Scot Lade: if you are a Genesis fan, you’ll definitely enjoy all of this album. Even if you find yourself, like me, skipping the first 10 minutes of track 2, that’s still well over an hour of some great prog.

I look forward to digging into the other three Monarch Trail albums, as well as Kevin Baird’s five solo albums. I'm guessing there is a treasure trove of more wonderful prog to be mined there.

If like me, you were not familiar with Monarch Trail, then tune in to Prog Radio to become familiar. We’ve added selections from “Four Sides” to our New Music rotation to get you started on your exploration!

4.5 Yaks

Released:
Run Time:
Dec 17, 2023
1 hr 13 min
Highlights:
The Oldest of Trees • Twenty K
Reviewer:
The Prog Yak
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