Have I ever railed against prog-rock on this blog yet? I can’t remember. Well let me sum things up really quickly: When I was a teenager, and just learning the guitar, and in a really terrible band, I was all about the King Crimson, and Yes and Genesis, which later turned into being all about Tool. I think that (I mean I know that) the reason that I gravitated toward these bands was that their style of music doesn’t really focus on finesse at all. There’s no groove to it. Groove is something that you can’t learn, you either have it or you don’t. On the other hand, technical facility, such as within the confines of prog-rock, is something that can be learned.
It’s not that all prog is bad, that’s definitely not the case. It’s just a genre that is really easy to overdo; when the music takes a backseat to the group showing off how complicated that they can make things, that’s when things start to get annoying. Yes, we all know how smart you (think) you are, now can you play some music please? So often actual, well-crafted melodies are thrown away in favor of something that is jittery and obtuse for the sake of being jittery and obtuse. Give me a melody that I can sing along to! Give me something that flows and has a little bit of a swing to it! I don’t want to hear machines with guitars, I want to hear human beings!
So hearing “Awaiting” by Confluence was actually a pleasant surprise. Sure, there are all sorts of complex musical things happening, but they aren’t made the focus of the tune. It’s much easier to sit back and listen to the melody, and enjoy it for what it is, without having to take into account the technically complex backdrop. I’d hate to take the term “melodic” away from its specific meaning, but it is very tempting to place something like this under the label of “melodic prog.”
What the song immediately brings to mind for me is Maps & Atlases “Trees, Swallows, Houses” EP. This song, like that EP, manages to walk the line of technicality, but with a sort of groove, or delicate sensibility in that they are flashy, but not for the sake of being so. I dig the way this track grooves, and the clarity of the recording, that’s something that really helps a band like this that seeks to take advantage of all the spaces between notes, those little silences. Sometimes those little silences can just make a song.
Give it a listen above and then check out one of the many links below.