Prehensile Tales
Released 15 May 2020
8.75
Clean vocals

Pattern-Seeking Animals – Prehensile Tales: Fun and refreshing prog your friends love too.

Pattern-Seeking Animals is a side project by four current and former members and collaborators of the Californian prog rock band Spock's Beard. Just a year after their debut, they release their second Prehensive Tales.

Right off the bat ‘Raining Hard in Heaven’ sets the tone with a straight forward drive. The funky bass playing catches my ear. Progressive elements layer upon this driving force and then in the chorus Pattern-Seeking Animals prove they are very capable of mixing prog rock with very engaging hooks. The second half of the track flirts more with the 70's prog rock influence, but provides perhaps a modern take on it. A very symphonic opener, not unlike bands like Genesis and Yes. Tasty.

Second track ‘Here in My Autumn’ immediately shows how lush Pattern-Seeking Animals are with their instruments. It actually opens up with a pretty complex intro, but it doesn't feel like it. It's very easy on the ear and catchy. There's some psychedelica in here too. This is amazingly well-written music. At times, King Crimson and ELP come to mind. As a whole, this song is just catchy and very accessible, but it would be in no way blasphemous to the more trained prog listener.

Elegant Vampires’ ventures even further with the pop-influences. Never do they abandon the 70's prog, though. Instead, they build upon it so magnificently well. So far, the result is a refreshing reminder that prog rock is not dead. More importantly, the music is fun.

Why Don't We Run’ starts with an Asian inspired sound. Once the drums come in, I get a more Latin vibe. Interesting. Then there's the chorus. Oh, the chorus. Be prepared to sing this along. There's definitely some heavy Latin influences here. This could very well be a song by Calexico. That feeling gets reinforced once those magnificent trumpets come to play. This song grabs you and doesn't let go until the very end. Fun stuff.

The last two tracks of the album are a whole lot longer, so I'm expecting two epics here. Surely the intro of ‘Lifeboat’ confirms this. This is going down the more traditional prog route. However, never is it uncatchy. I can't shake the feeling that "sinking ships" or more broadly "the sea" are among thé hottest topics for prog rockers to write about. Didn't Gentle Giant have a ‘Wreck’? One of the catchier songs by Gentle Giant too.

Soon But Not Today’ is the perfect closer of this album. It provides some more emotional moments, but it also gives these guys some opportunities to flex their musicianship (as if they hadn't already). And boy, do they grab these opportunities. These last two tracks give the album the extra spark you would want from a prog album.

Prehensile Tale is a catchy record without abandoning what we love about prog. It's at that sweet spot in-between. After repeated listens, any prog fan would have this in the car to jam out to or even use this as an introduction to prog music to their non-prog friends. A big yes!