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The Strawberry Bricks Guide to Progressive Rock: Revised and Expanded Edition Paperback – April 8, 2017
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Unfortunately, many of the capsule album summaries appear targeted toward fellow fans who already know something about what the music sounds like; for this reason, as a neophyte, I found the critical voice inconsistent and the reviews only intermittently helpful in determining whether I would like an album or not. Many of the reviews were great; others, insidery and unilluminating.
Unlike many album guides, Strawberry Bricks is organized by year, not by artist. That's because Snider sees progressive rock as a movement with a specific trajectory, starting with Sgt. Pepper in 1967, peaking in the mid-70s, and ending with the Asia album in 1982 (a brief epilogue recaps the last 35 years). Again, since I'm not a devote of the music, I can't say whether or not that's a defensible critical position, but it was not clear to me from the book how different strands of progressive rock developed over time, whether bands were influenced by one another (beyond poaching each other's personnel with alarming frequency), or whether specific events in any given year influenced the musical style. Personally, I would have found grouping by artist and discussing the works in relationship to the evolving creative vision of each group would have been more helpful. But perhaps fans have already seen too much of that format and will find the novelty of Snider's approach appealing.
I learned from the reactions to my Forbes piece that progressive rock still has plenty of fans and defenders despite its tarnished reputation as a pompous, overblown artistic dead-end, instantly superannuated by the punk movement of the late 70s. If you are one of these diehard fans and are looking for a detailed, comprehensive and affectionate overview of the genre, definitely give this a look.