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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

William Shatner - Ponder the Mystery [Cleopatra Records - 2013]

Ponder The Mystery finds William Shatner teaming up with Billy Sherwood, and a whole host of guest stars, to create a poppy prog rock album. And though it doesn’t reach the  exellence of Has Been (his  2044 collab with Ben Folds Five ). This is often a lot of fun, as we get Shatner’s instantly recognisable spoken word delivery against Sherwoods soaring, slick & tuneful mix of pop prog & airy harmonising vocals.

Pretty much every one of the 15 tracks on offer here features a guest star  spot, and they come from the expected to the surprising…moving from Mick Jones(Foreigner), Steve Vai, Rick Wakeman, Edgar Winter, Robby Krieger, George Duke, and Edgar Frose!. None of these guest stars really make much of a sonic impact on the tracks; as Sherwood is clearly the writer & the orchestrator behind each track. But in a way that’s not a bad thing- as it means there’s a uniformity to the albums sound, and you don’t feel like your listening to solo album with lots of guests, but instead more of a soild band album.

Lyric wise Shatner moves from ponder the mysterious of life, an old canine friend,  fear of the unknown, old age, and sunsets- he’s on good form through-out, and Sherwoods layers of harmonising vocals work as a perfect counter balance to his distinctive delivery.

The songs themselves are mainly mid-paced affairs based around layers of strummed acoustic & electric guitars, which are edged with spacey 'n' soaring synth & guitar soloing, and the odd smooth jazz like sax or flute solo. Each of the 15 tracks are memorable in their own right, with enough variation here to keep you interested - so the just over hour running time  of the albums moves by quite fast.

So if you have a soft spot for both pop prog (Yes’s late 80’s to 1990’s output or Asia) & Mr Shatner you’ll have a great time with this…lets hope the pair work together again, as this is a most memorable & fun bit of pop lined prog.

Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5

Roger Batty
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