Streaming Out the Day manages to take the best aspects of various genres to create a new kind of jazzy prog for a more domesticated audience.
Streaming Out The Day
indy / Threshing Floor Records
Soon available for download at iTunes, Amazon and elsewhere
4 tracks / 23:46
They say that good things come in small packages, but sometimes the small package is so crammed with good stuff that it feels like a much larger deal. Consider twenty three minutes and forty six seconds of music that’s so rich - so densely infused with melody and texture, so satisfyingly produced, arranged, and engineered - that you feel like you’ve had a perfectly satisfying musical meal. That’s what you get with Streaming Out The Day, the debut EP by Sweet Invention – a group you’ve never heard of, but just might be familiar with …sort of. You see, the principal instruments in Sweet Invention are drums, played by Scott Connor (Circa, Prog Collective, Yoso, and William Shatner), and keyboards, bass, and guitar – all played by none other than Randy George, whose musical credits are too many to fit between a pair of parentheses. The other featured instrument – and a finely tuned and versatile one it is – would be the voice of Pam George. That three people could produce music so densely populated with sound is amazing indeed.
The genre that this music falls into is hard to pin down - and for me at least, that’s a good thing. I’m tempted to say jazz-prog fusion ...but there are elements of pop ...and rock ...art rock, classic rock - and back again to prog - but prog without the bombast and excess often associated with the genre. The songs are infused with melody and are (except for “Poor Mister Weasley,” the project’s only instrumental) lyrically poetic and thoughtful – driving me to my dictionary at least once (now I know what a saguaro is). Part of the success of Streaming Out the Day is that the Georges wisely wrote these songs more economically than most progsters, keeping compositions within reasonable lengths. As a result, they’re well-structured and memorable even after only a couple of listenings.
The very accessible opening track, “The Desert Song,” is just shy of four minutes – a song that I suspect Yes would be envious of. Randy’s signature, solid bass playing is as bedrock-strong as anything he’s done with The Neal Morse Band, his synth work and acoustic guitar playing provides a strong rhythm structure, and Pam’s vocals are airy and pleasant in tone – a pleasure to listen to as a ‘solo instrument’ or in layered harmonies.
The project’s longest track, “Calico Man,” clocks in at a hair over eight minutes – but eight minutes filled with stunning, textured drumming, fiery guitar passages, creative keyboard sounds (including a convincing flute on the Yamaha Motif), and Pam displaying a surprisingly more earthbound vocal tone than the airy performance on the previous song. There are tempo changes and some surprises in this song, which eventually ends where it began, as a waltz!
Right in the first line of “Teacher,” Pam shows an impressive vocal range and very precise layering of parts. The song starts at a slow pace and then gets into some very tasty and unexpected changes as the tempo speeds up a bit. The arranging and production really shines on this track, which evolves into a driving rock style, then takes some very jazzy turns toward the end that left me surprised and a bit astonished.
“Poor Mister Weasley” an instrumental, closes the EP, and employs washes of synth, walking bass, rhythmic keyboard playing, very jazzy stick work by Connor, and melodic guitar lines, first from Pam, and then Randy, who absolutely dazzles with some fine jazzy guitar playing.
Streaming Out the Day manages to take the best aspects of the various genres it samples to create a new kind of prog for a more domesticated audience. With constantly impressive playing, smart, focused writing, and a fine, likable vocalist, let’s hope that Sweet Invention will keep on inventing this sweet, jazzy prog.
4 ½ tocks
You can see Bert Saraco’s concert photography – some of which features Randy George in action – at: