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July/August 2006

Tony Levin
Resonator
Narada Media

On 2002’s Pieces of Sun, bassist Tony Levin created a loving ode to the music of King Crimson and early Genesis that was at turns bombastic and, like some of Genesis’ best work, occasionally soft and acoustic. It all makes sense, of course. Prog rock fans know that Levin joined a 1980s reincarnation of King Crimson and toured and performed with Genesis’ Peter Gabriel.

Now Levin explores his singer-songwriter side—his Phil Collins period, if you will—on eight of the 10 songs on Resonator. Proggers may not go along for the ride in this new direction, especially since Levin’s vocals don’t come close to matching those of Gabriel or Collins. In fact, his vocals are downright irritating on cuts like “Places to Go.” But as progressives are wont to be, there’s a humorous bent to some of the material, which almost makes up for its failings. “Throw the God a Bone,” for example, has a Southern-rock-anthem groove and the actual barking of Levin’s dog.

There’s some great playing here, of course, with Adrian Belew of King Crimson and Steve Lukather cranking out some amazing rock licks. Underneath the iffy singing there’s some good stuff.

Originally published in July/August 2006
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