Though they remain resolutely unfashionable, a number of impressive groups in the Chicago underground are devoted to forwarding the progressive-rock traditions of the '70s, including the instrumental virtuosity and musical eclecticism, with hints of more modern and metallic sounds ala Coheed and Cambria or System of a Down. To this list we can now add the South Side quintet Ideamen.
Formed in 2006 and comprised of lead vocalist Dave Solar, keyboardist Tim Swanson, bassist Mark Vasquez, guitarist Dan Figurell and drummer Phil Goodrich, Ideamen made their recorded debut with a strong five-song EP called "Progress." Now, they've followed that up with an even more melodic, precisely arranged and gleefully inventive album entitled "May You Live in Interesting Times," to be released next week by the Los Angeles indie label Rotten Records.
If the vocals can become a bit helium-squeaky at times--hardly a new problem in prog (see also: Jon Anderson of Yes and the guys in Supertramp)--the melodies and rhythms are powerful enough to hold your interest through all the time changes and unexpected detours.
These sounds can be sampled online at www.myspace.com/ideamen, you can read more about the group at www.iloveideamen.com and you can catch it onstage at the Beat Kitchen, 2100 W. Belmont, during a combination CD release show and Halloween Extravaganza starting at 8 p.m. on Oct. 30.