There is something inherently British about prog rock. Many artists stateside have dabbled in it but its origins trace back primarily to bonny old England. It's the pomp and circumstance, the classical ties, the grandeur, the pageantry, the intricacy. In the realm of rock, it is the evolved nobility. King Crimson, Yes, ELP, and Genesis led the charge crafting grandiose pieces and telling tales of fantastical realms. Their offspring added heavier elements, leading to the prog-metal that rules the sophisticated rock palate these days but some have carried on the tradition of these forebears with a pure spirit.

London's High Chair is doing just that with the final instalment in their trilogy 'Hey Mountain Hey'. The complex collection draws inspiration from the aforementioned prog originators and weaves in literary themes from Shakespeare, Tolkien, and Kafka as well as concepts from old Navaho traditions. The result is an unfolding tapestry of ethereal soundscapes and bold imagery.

The opening track 'Stargazer' comes busting out of the gate like a dragster on the loose. Manic Mike Garson-esque piano clangs over frenetic drumming and a cacophonous crescendo. Chiming, cascading guitar is met with determined driving low lines. Computational beeps and boops further add to the cybernetic atmosphere. Billy Surgeoner's lead vocals are drawn out and mesmerizing, harmonized by co-pilot Rokiah Yaman. The whole package closely recalls the tracks that David Bowie was releasing in his mid-to-late 90s Earthling period. Racing, futuristic, and bolstered by the combo of his unnerving croon with the beautiful harmonies of bassist Gail Ann Dorsey.

The styles vary wildly throughout the record. 'Tree and Leaf's Tolkien-inspired lyrics are underpinned by fingerpicked guitar, relaxed new-age percussion and gorgeous backing vocals by Yaman. 'E-Ternal' finds itself more akin to Genesis with its major key synth stabs and punchy 80s anthem vibe. 'Bring It Down' loses some of the prog clutter to move into a 90s style groove with a trip-hop beat and string synths. The catchy track finds itself somewhere between Garbage and the Sneaker Pimps.

'Breath of Life (Black Wolf Lament)' treads that most fantastical territory where King Crimson made its mark. Chord changes filled with magnetic tension, echoing vocals, and a pompous sonic signature. 'The Door of the Law' also benefits from those friction-inducing chord groups to build a compelling sub-structure, all while Surgeoner floats his vocals atop. The finale 'The Pollen Path' feels like a spiritual cleansing, an incantation. They sing “beauty all around” as trumpets fanfare and fantastical synths create a luminescent space.

Hey Mountain Hey has everything to satisfy the classic prog aficionado. Dense, progressive instrumentation. Lush production and soundscapes. Deep lyrical content drawn from centuries of literary works. Vocals that bring whimsy and wonder. High Chair hasn't reinvented the wheel with this release but any fans of the old guard of prog rock will greatly appreciate this new century entry in the canon.