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Pattern-Seeking Animals - Pattern-Seeking Animals

Pattern-Seeking Animals
Pattern-Seeking Animals
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 30 June 2019, 3:24 AM

PATTERN-SEEKING ANIMALS is a new group featuring the talents of current and former SPOCK’s BEARD members Ted Leonard, Jimmy Keegan and Dave Meros as well as long-time contributing songwriter-producer John Boegehold. Of the musical direction, Boegehold comments: “My goal was to produce music that’s progressive and intricate while keeping things immediate and melodic.  Whether a song is four minutes or ten minutes long, I didn’t want more than a few bars go by without some kind of instrumental or vocal hook.” Originally, a vehicle for a few tracks John had been working on in early 2018, he quickly came up with enough music to work towards producing an album. With that in mind, he enlisted the talents of Jimmy Keegan, Ted Leonard & Dave Meros, with Boegehold handling all the synths. He adds: “Besides live strings on a few songs and a female backing vocalist on another, it was all done between the four of us with Dave and Ted ending up as co-writers on some of the material.”

With the band obviously being closely associated with SPOCK’s BEARD, John was conscious of exploring different avenues with PATTERN-SEEKING ANIMALS, whether it was song structures, vocal arrangements, synth sounds or emotional textures. “PATTERN-SEEKING ANIMALS was a clean slate,” says Boegehold. So, I found myself drawing on a few different musical influences and using some contemporary production ideas and sounds that I probably wouldn’t use with SPOCK’s BEARD for various reasons.” The album contains nine tracks.

“No Burden Left to Carry” leads off the album. It opens with sweet keys and a little guitar melody…reminding me of the Swedish band KAYAK. It’s a nine-minute beast. There are some great backing vocals. Spacey keys carry the melody for a while, as the sky around you begins to grey. Overall, a very jovial song with a supernatural quality. “The Same Mistakes Again” opens with melancholy guitars and pleasing keys. It is a bit quiet on the register but has bursts of emotions. Key changes abound. “Orphans of the Universe” is the longest song on the album, at over ten minutes in length. Guitar and keys dance together in the opening, like any good samba partners. It isn’t until the two-minute mark until we hear some vocals. From there, the song takes odd diversions, while keeping the central sound alive just enough to recognize it.

“No One Ever Died and Made me King” is a short four minutes, uncharacteristic of much of the album. It follows one main riff throughout the album, but still with that unique weirdness. “Fall Away” opens with just soft vocals and keys, talking about how he “can’t write a story with a happy ending, as we watch our love fall away.” I suppose you could call it a song about loss. It definitely has a melancholy feeling to it, like watching from inside as it rains for days. “These are my Things” opens with soft clean guitar notes before keys and vocals join in. I’m unsure where it is heading. The chorus makes sense but sometimes they meander a bit. “We Write the Ghost Stories” is a quick three minutes. It has a little cadence to it but is mostly vocals and drums with an occasional guitar riff and keys here and there.

“No Man’s Land” is another song that just sound too much like the others. I understand Progressive music, but this fails to resonate with me and I’m not sure why. The vocalist is talented, as are the rest of the musicians…perhaps it lacks that punch that you often hear in the genre…sort of the anti-Djent. “Stars Along the Way” opens with quiet and alluring keys that, for a moment, take away your worries. It has a dreamy quality to it…take it in and let it soak into your soul. This song, but contrast, definitely resonates with me. It’s pretty, and the message is positive.

I suppose this final song is indicative of the overall problems I have with the album. They can create really meaningful music at times and be absolutely boring at other times. I can hang with a 20-minute Prog song with the best of them but is has to have meaning in the end. SPOCK’s BEARD is a great, original act. I am just unsure of what they were trying to accomplish here. Most of the song meandered quite a bit, and the connections just weren’t there. I think it’s safe to say this side project failed, but not miserably. I would look forward to hearing from the band again in the future, if they can reconcile some of the moments that left the listener uninspired.

Songwriting: 4
Originality: 8
Memorability: 2
Production: 8

2 Star Rating

1. No Burden Left to Carry
2. The Same Mistakes Again
3. Orphans of the Universe
4. No One Ever Died and Made Me King
5. Fall Away
6. These Are My Things
7. We Write the Ghost Stories
8. No Land’s Man
9. Stars Along the Way
John Boegehold – Synths, Keyboards
Ted Leonard – Vocals & Guitar
Dave Meros – Bass
Jimmy Keegan - Drums & Vocals
Record Label: InsideOut Music


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Edited 31 May 2023

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