Puppet Show - The Tale of Woe. 2007 USA

Recently on the Kaipa Da Capo review, I mentioned a certain aversion to the modern commercial wing of progressive rock. The Flower Kings / Spock’s Beard sound was always lost on me – too much 80s and 90s styled radio ballads and anthems interspersed among the more thoughtful progressions. ProgRock Records specializes in just this sound. And despite numerous releases, almost none of them have been invited into my home. I don’t consider them terrible mind you, just on the margins of my personal interest area. And given the label’s long run, I would say they knew their market well.

So it took me aback to see a band like Puppet Show obtaining release on ProgRock. I’ve been in possession of their debut Traumatized for many years now, and recall it being a cut above the ordinary neo prog dreck. Still, I can see the intersection of the 2 styles here, and took a chance. Well it wasn’t much of a chance since sealed copies of the CD can be had for less than a pack of chewing gum…

It’s been many a year since I heard my CD copy of Traumatized, but if memory serves, The Tale of Woe is very much in line with it. Puppet Show are one of the few modern bands to reach back to the progressive era of Genesis (strange as that might seem, but most go for the Marillion variation of said sound). Not quite as Foxtrot obsessed as say Simon Says or Cliffhanger, more towards the last throes of the famous band’s progressive rock leanings. Like Wind and Wuthering. And Puppet Show also look toward the original neo prog emulators – namely IQ – especially around the time of Ever, for further guidance. And there you have your table of contents for this audio book. Mid 70s Genesis meets early 90s IQ. At times, Puppet Show can get a bit wordy, and begin to slow down to a crawl, as does IQ on occasion. But just at that point of reaching for the remote, in comes some fantastic keyboard/guitar/complex rhythm musical progressions, and thus giving context to the lyrical portions. I won’t go so far as to call this an instant classic, but I do find albums such as this maintaining staying power. And for the price it’s going for, it makes no sense not to take a chance if what I say above resonates.

Personal collection
CD: 2007 ProgRock

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