Sixty minutes long, The Underfall Yard praises the gentle ingenuity and social order of the late Victorian and Edwardian periods in England. Almost utterly English in its tone and expression, the album captures the mythic soul of an era. With a fragile but virtuous invocation of an autumnal twilight of a culture, the album begins with the appearance of the evening star, always a sign of hope. But, through the hour of immersion, the listener visits fallen aristocrats, bygone brickworks, and decaying railways.
The song that is most profound in its lyrics is “Winchester Diver,” the true story of a man, William Walker, who spent years fixing the flooded area that was ruining the foundations of Winchester Cathedral. Spending hours at a time in darkness, sustained by an oxygen tank, the diver could hear the Mass celebrated above him while encountering what he assumed were visions of demons and hell below him. In this purgatorial moment, progressive rock reaches its height — a connection of the earth and the sky, the water and the land, heaven and hell. The human person, filled with integrity and determination, finds himself surrounded on all sides by adversity. In the end, though, he perseveres. The cathedral remains in form as well as in spirit.
The final song, the 23-minute “The Underfall Yard,” expresses the same longings as the rest of the album — the longings of progressive rock and, ultimately, of the human condition.
— Read on www.nationalreview.com/2012/05/different-kind-progressive-bradley-j-birzer/
One thought on “A Different Kind of Progressive | National Review”
This was the first piece of your writing ever read by me, as well as being my introduction to BBT. Needless to say, I’m a fan of both.
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