It’s not every day that I listen to an album with a member of the UNH Admissions staff on it. It’s also not every day that I suggest listeners read a short story prior to (or at least during) the first track of an album, but with 1974’s album 1974 and The Battle for the Lazer Fortress, this is exactly what you need to do.
If you do choose to read during the opening track, you will have ample time since “Overture” is an almost 16 minute introduction. This track not only gives listeners an idea of what to expect from the rest of the album, but it also grants a window into the talent and influences of the band, which they list as Yes, Rush, The Decemberists, The Beatles, Kansas, and Pink Floyd. This track alone contains everything from funky bass lines to huge guitar solos to that classic organ tone (rotating speaker and all!).
Following “Overture” is the brief “Intro” which mellows listeners out with the somber lyrics of “history turns to smoke, fades in fluid air, sight is lost from our gravest mistakes” only to transition into the nearly classic metal guitar of “The War That Tears Apart the Sky.” “Clone Discovery” is modern take on the retro progressive music cited as influences, and has a powerful “dual lead” vocal for most of the song.
For the rest of the album, the songs take on a different feel utilizing a cleaner lighter guitar sound, mostly maintaining a subdued feel until closing with a punchy and powerful ending. “Welcome to Earth” is highlighted by a funky bass line, “Wait” by a repetitious driving drum, guitar, organ, and bass riff ending, and “T.E.M.P.’s” by a soft-spoken harp-like ostinato. The album closes with the “Song of Survivors,” an inspiring track with chanted chorus vocals leaving listeners with a warm fuzzy feeling inside. Lyrics about rebuilding human-kind, gathering together to survive, and vanquishing fears makes this a song that is catchy enough to get stuck in heads but powerful and meaningful too, leaving a lasting impression.
While this concept album may not be for everyone, it is a great listen and something that the guys in 1974 should be proud of. I would highly recommend checking it out and keeping an eye out for what 1974 does in the future! If I had to give it a rating, I would give this album 4 Z’s out of 5 Z’s replacing S’s in a word to make the word more awesome. You can find 1974 and The Battle for the Lazer Fortress at http://1974.bandcamp.com.