ScapeLand Wish - Reason

Year of Release: 2000
Label: self-released
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 57:48:00

The nice thing about being a rock critic is the fact that you get send a lot of promo material. Sometimes this material includes totally unknown artists that, after listening to their album, makes you wonder why no one had ever heard of them before, as their music is truly awesome. Such a band certainly has to be the magnificent American threesome Scapeland Wish. Hailed as a three-piece powerhouse trio from the state of Connecticut, I'd rather describe these guys as good solid AOR with a decent amount of prog influences. Especially the vocal harmonies tend to be in the same league as Starcastle, whilst their musical journey takes us to Styx, Yes, but also to bands like Boston and Ambrosia.

Augmented by three extra vocalists, singer-drummer Josh Ramirez really shines throughout this disc, making sure the vocal harmonies are one of the many highlights. The superb "Utopia" kind of embodies both Starcastle and Ambrosia with Sean Grant adding a slight operatic feel. Amazing how Josh's voice blends with the piano making "Utopia" indeed a "grand" opener. Stunning bass and guitar and yet more vocal acrobatics form the backbone of "As A Child," an FM-station classic in the same vein as Boston if ever I heard one. Having acoustic and electric guitars melt together turns the instrumental "Snow In Santa Fe" into something spectacular. The intro for the title track "Reason" is most reminiscent of Starcastle, maybe with a dash of REO Speedwagon and Styx thrown in for good measure. There's "flanger" galore during "Absence Of A God," also including some nice CSN & Y harmonies and Rush-like bass playing. In "The Heart Of Andes" it's as if Jon Anderson sings an unreleased Marillion song. Funky bass playing introduces "A Brave New World," a song which could easily be pulled from a Trevor Rabin-era Yes session.

"Chinese Spare Ribs" seems like an exercise in "flageolets" before turning into a funky uptempo experience also incorporating jazz rock by means of George Benson-like guitar playing. The acoustic guitar in "Silver Sleep" reminds me of the best Anthony Philips, yet it looks like the band's box of tricks is reserved 'til last because "Take The Lead" indeed shows Scapeland Wish at its very best. It doesn't happen very often that I'm extremely enthusiastic about a certain release, but this time I have to admit that this is a release which has grabbed me by the balls! Great musicianship, great compositions full of diversity and skill, balancing between prog and FM-rock so as to please a really large audience. I know critics often end their criticism with the wise words "go out and order your copy today," or "no house should be without one," but this time it's the truth and nothing but the truth, as the only reason is Reason!

[In March 2005 the band shortened it's name to Scapeland -ed.]

Prelude To Reason (1:08) / Utopia (3:57) / As A Child (7:22) / Snow In Santa Fe (4:29) / Reason (4:18) / The Tonight Show (1:35) / Before The Absence (0:34) / Absence Of God (4:05) / The Heart Of The Andes (6:07) / A Brave New World (5:01) / Arms Around You (3:13) / Chinese Spare Ribs (5:13) / Silver Sleep (3:25) / Take The Lead (7:14)

Josh Ramirez - vocals, drums, percussion
Mike Stiskal - bass, keyboards, acoustic guitar, background vocals
Kevin Forsberg - electric and acoustic guitars

Reason (2000)
The Ghosts Of Autumn (2003)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin US

Added: August 2nd 2001
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Artist website:
Hits: 788
Language: english


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