4 out of 5 Stars!
Several years ago, when first listening to Still Looking For The Answers, the debut album from 41Point9, I realized almost immediately the music could not be classified as “traditional” Progressive Rock. Instead, the group—consisting of bassist Bob Madsen, guitarist/keyboardist Kenny Steel, and vocalist/guitarist Brian Cline (ex-Enchant)—created a nine-track collection of highly melodic, almost AOR material with Prog-Rock influences added throughout most of the tracks.
Indeed, on the lengthier compositions such as “One in a Bar,” “Living in Hard Times,” “Promise the Moon,” “The Bullet’s in the Barrel,” and the breathtaking title track, the sometimes dreamy and hummable vocal melody lines might seem perfectly at home on the more experimental albums by groups such as Toto, Cannata, Dare, or Mr. Mister, while the instrumental accompaniment and the occasionally complex song arrangements lend a periodic Neo-Prog or Symphonic-Prog bent that, at times, reminds me of the aforementioned Enchant, as well as mid-period Marillion, Moonrise, or Spock’s Beard. (And speaking of the latter band, supplying percussion on this album are the two Spock’s Beard drummers, Nick D’Virgilio and Jimmy Keegan.) And aside from the one instrumental track—the moody and gripping “Surface Tension (A Drive Thru the City),” with its intriguing and spirited bass riffs and guitar solos—Cline’s dulcet timbre, mid-level range, and relaxed delivery style exudes an indescribable warmth that I could easily imagine blending in comfortably with any AOR group.
In general, the music included on Still Looking For The Answers is on the mellower side of the “rock spectrum,” with nothing too jarring when it comes to crazy time shifts, driving or sprinting rhythms, or bombastic instrumentation, but it’s all quite enjoyable for folks looking for occasionally dramatic and symphonic material that falls comfortably into the “middle of the road” territory between AOR and Prog-Rock. Therefore, this “outside the norm” approach, this merging of styles, makes 41Point9 one band to watch.