In a career spanning over 23 years (and counting) it has not always been easy to get into the music of Spock’s Beard. Sometimes their progressive outings were that complicated that you could hear Captain Kirk think ‘beam me up Scotty’. Still, this band must be seen as an important part of the progressive rock movement through the years. On ‘Noise Floor’, their official 13th album Spock’s Beard sound surprising enough more mainstream and more accessible than ever without actually losing any of their identity. That is still there especially on a song like ,,Box Of Spiders’’ that is old fashioned Spock’s Beard with complex instrumental parts where especially keyboardist Ryo Okumoto has put his mark on. But even the band members now admit that as part of progression things have developed in a slightly different direction. Take for instance the first track ,,To Breathe Another Day’’. Can’t remember having heard this band and singer Ted Leonard sound this ‘heavy’. For this album drummer Nick D’Virgilio has made a welcome return (he left after the ‘X’ album) but because of his other commitments it is far from sure that he will be playing live with the group. Anyway, his energetic and inventive way of playing makes ‘Noise Floor’ yet again a record that is strong in its genre. But it is as a whole more accessible as well, but that is something you will notice if you start comparing songs from this album with other older songs or when you are a fanatic fan of the group you will detect the obvious changes straight away. It still sounds big but it is less complicated, it flows better and is a bit more mainstream minded. The diehard fans of this group will have to get used to that I suppose but there is still enough stuff there that will satisfy them. This product is going to be released as a two CD. The second CD contains the ‘Cutting Room’ EP with four songs that maybe are leftovers that did not make the cut but were considered too good to be left out. Anyway, also on that EP the band sounds a bit more accessible (the songs are a bit shorter than normal) except for the instrumental ,,Armageddon Nervous’’ that is a demonstration of pure progressive rock Spock’s Beard style. All in all some interesting stuff for progressive rockers to dive into to hopefully with an open mind.