In 2005, solo artist/multi-instrumentalist Steve Unruh formed the band Resistor so that he could create songs with electric guitar. Joining Steve are Fran Turner (Guitar), Barry Farrands (Drums), and Rob Winslow (Bass). This quartet set out to merge modern progressive rock with classic rock as the backbone. Upon listening to their music, you feel a sense of timelessness.
In 2008, they released a self titled debut album. They had a more organic sound which nowadays is very rare since bands utilize more “digital” aspects to recording music. Plus once you listen to their music, you can hear the difference in comparison to most other bands of today.
Now after many listening sessions, I am reminded of two artists, Kevin Gilbert and Jack Black, both in the way Steve enunciates the lyrics. Musically, I picture Steve as carrying the torch that Kevin lit years ago. Yes I know that might come out as hyperbole but it’s just how I call it.
From the opening track, “Reincarnation” (5:50), you are instantly thrusted into the wild world of Resistor. There’s a sense of urgency, especially in the guitar playing, in way the song is presented.
“Jethro Fran” (3:47) is a nice heavy tribute to Jethro Tull. This is my least favorite of the album. In all honesty, I would have left this off the album and maybe have it available as an online download or a cd-rom file on the album.
The epic of the album, “Restless Angel” (11:46) has the band in full gear. On this song I’m reminded musically of Spock’s Beard, especially the first two albums. Vocal wise, I go again with Kevin Gilbert comparison. Just image a Kevin Gilbert fronted Spock’s Beard and you can see where I’m coming from (or at least I hope so.) This song also, to me, has what could be called a signature sound.
Next is a pair that kind of belong together, “Fair To Say” (6:21) slows things down to a soft bluesy swing song bordering on lite jazz at times. Now there’s “As Of Yesterday” (3:43) is one of my favorites off the album. The song begins with a short homage of sorts to Sweet’s Ballroom Blitz but then it morphs into a heavy prog song. Very catchy tune.
“222” (5:52) is the second instrumental of the album. In my honest opinion, I don’t think that this is really essential to the flow of this album. That being said, this song starts off in a soft jazzy mode then over the course of the song it builds up to an almost Santana-like song.
“Moondog” (7:00) returns to the heavy side of prog with the third instrumental on the album. This is a nice workout between the instruments. This type of song is explored more on the “The Secret Island Band Jams” years later. It’s part structured, part improv. I can see this one in concert going into double the length (or more) of it’s studio counterpart.
“Waiting To Believe” (7:47) ends off the album perfectly, in my opinion of course. It starts off soft and slowly builds up some muscle. It builds up and never goes over the edge until the last two minutes. The pay off is pure melodic prog bliss.
My conclusion is that this is a fantastic yet slightly flawed debut that shows where the band was at in 2008. While having some nods to the past, I wouldn’t call I retro… it’s just pure prog (in my opinion). Start here to see how the band began and to explore their music chronologically. You’ll agree that this is American prog at it’s finest and gets an essential recommendation with the best yet to come!
Reviewed by Ron Fuchs on May 17th, 2011