Is a prog ballad something that really exists? To answer such a difficult question, here you are "One Summer", the first movement of "Summer Suite", by the American duo Balloon Astronomy and coming from their self titled debut album. If ever there is a single prog ballad in the musical world, this is the one. Featuring a beautiful melody and a clever but unobtrusive arrangement, this song (or movement) is longer and more complex than a traditional pop ballad, but still preserves the freshness and the niceness of its genre. And the lyrics about loss and death narrating a girl's suicide following her mother's illness are simply moving and very, very well written.
This album was a pleasant surprise for my ears...
Take for example the acoustic guitar solo by guest musician Mike Keneally of Frank Zappa's fame or Nick D'Virgilio's drums (yes, he's everywhere!). I think US proggers have a special touch with gentle and catchy tracks just like this one and I enjoy those little pearls with gratitude. The suite goes on with two more typically prog instrumental pieces ("For Jackie" and "Summer Afternoon"), and they're very good too, with a classical taste and a splendid piano, then guitar / keyboards work. The whole suite has a nostalgy mood I adore and I hope the Balloon Astronomy project will continue... we all need some fresh air, after all!
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