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Pig Farm On The Moon - Orbital

Artist: Pig Farm On The Moon
Title: Orbital
Label: Musical Mind
Length(s): 68 minutes
Year(s) of release: 2002
Month of review: [07/2003]

Line up

Lidian - lead vocals, backing vocals, acoustic guitar
Ivanov - electric guitar,
Dario Sosa - electric and acoustic guitars
Salomon Lerner - keyboards
Gustavo Borrero - bass, double bass, fretless bass
Gilberto Finol - drums
Arturo Soto - lead solo on 5
Rosa Maria Barrios - viola on 2, 4
Igor Lara - violin on 2, 4
Darlenys Zamora - cello on 2, 4
Laurent Lecuyer - keyboard solo on 2, 4

Tracks

1) Awaken From Reality 16.04
2) Genesis 9.28
3) I Lost My Wings 12.19 MP3 or RealAudio
4) The Queen Maibe 18.55
5) The Return Of The Rain 11.42

Summary

With a name like Pig Farm On The Moon everyone is sure to think of Pink Floyd, with a song title Genesis, it would not surprise us if the band from Venezuela moves in that direction as well. Or are they out to mislead us?

The music

This albums contains five longish to long songs, the first of which is Awaken From Reality. The opening is Saga like with the typical percussive bass guitar. Then the music becomes a bit harder edged and I guess one can say the Dream Theater connection mentioned in the bio comes out. Back to the percussive guitar. The vocal part is rather disappointing, a bit in the line of Timelock and the lyrics are pretty standard. Very neo-progressive. At one third we do get a more jazzy interlude but then it is back to the eighties prog keyboard solo's. Still, the band certainly has the tendency to work in some more typical elements such as the very happy sounding organ and the vocoded vocals which are to be found around the nine minute mark. One of the problems with the music here lies in the vocals, I mean the guys are doing their best to make something distinctive, and they do, but in my opinion they do not yet have the experience to this kind of intertwined vocal parts very well. That makes the song come off sounding amateurish, production wise. This is also audible in the guitar sound which, when the solo is riding high, would expect to sound much more up front. The uplifting vocal part at the end is promising again. All in all, the band seems to have a lot of potential, but they seem not able to harness it yet. Of course, time permitting this is shall surely.

Genesis opens with progmetallic guitars and Mark Kelly style keyboards. No Genesis as yet on this one. In fact, the song is quite up-tempo with extensive rhythm guitars and dancing keyboards. Then the music dies down a bit, becoming slower and more dramatic. Sometimes a good melody crops up, reminiscent for instance of Dream Theater. The chamber orchestra is something entirely different again. Quite nice thius, also the interaction with the rock side of the band. It actually comes quite close to a gothic metal band in this fashion. The guitar solo following meanders a bit too much, and I am also not fond of its tuning, a bit too cold.

I Lost My Wings is a lush opener with acoustic guitar and keyboards, while the guitar reminds immediately of Marillion's Seasons End. The vocal part is a bit overly melodramatic, for this the vocalist sounds a bit too tinny. It does get better later however. The song does stay in the Dream Theater vein (but the quieter side of them, mind you), with some experimental guitar excursions and even some King Crimson Discipline era style playing to boot.

The Queen Maibe is a five parted epic. It opens with loud spacey electronics moving right into an acoustic vocal part. This is really good stuff, a bit in the line of Porcupine Tree, but a bit more airy. Dancing piano runs up next when the bounce comes into the song. Then we get a rather distinctive chorus line, which reminds me somewhat of Spocks Beard. Here the organ plays a strong role. The guitar playing is very repetitive here, alternating throughout from one ear to the other. It is too bad about the production, because this could have been turned into a good epic, especially with a bit more retraint in places. Now, the promise in the song is there, but it does not all come out yet. The atmosphere is there, the melodies are catchy, the keyboard solo in the middle are the bombastic kind that most symphonic proggers can enjoy. Then we go back in loudness a bit to strumming acoustic guitars. The final part contains some more instrumental sections, but the band does manage to hold the attention, and the transitions are better placed than in tracks so far. The wavery voice has something of the singer of Lands End, and adds a melancholy note when it should. The powerful ending is a really good one, bombastic and encompassing.

The Return Of The Rain is the closer of this album. It opens in rather high tempo with swirling keys and supporting guitar. There are some slight nods to Tony Banks in this one. The vocal part has some clear references to Yes, again this song is a one that comes out better than the first three. A waltzy track, but also including some more hard edged vocal part. The vocals do need more attention though, it seems to me they are just fooling around a bit here. Do not think all is bad though, when they take a bit easier, things come up fine.

There is a short afterbirth, a nice ditty going off the rails.

Conclusion

Dream Theater, Marillion, Spocks Beard, Porcupine Tree, Yes, I hear echoes of this band in Pig Farm On The Moon. At times they come to good results, as in for instance The Queen Maibe. More often than that they eat more than they can chew and that is too bad, because the band has some good ideas. The band is also in need of improvement in the production and recording area. Of course, that usually depends on the kind of money you have and the kind of facilities you can find. But the ideas are there. Let us hope they, at least, stay.

© Jurriaan Hage