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"Bockman Live Review"

"...The guitar licks are perfect. Nothing flashy, but they're catchy. And that's the thing. [The Song] Patience exemplifies the guitar playing with a guitar riff that defies logic. Everything that flows along with the beat, everything that stays in key to define some sort of melody, this riff needs not those things. And the way it's executed with such perfection in a live setting is a testament to the kind of feel that is executed by the band as a whole, note perfect. Not note perfect in the sense that they are able to execute everything flawlessly, but in the sense that no note is wasted.

The mix of indie-rock stretched to the limits sprinkled with the occasional dark driving rock section, is framed with ease by the drummer. Again, nothing flashy here, but everything sounds perfect. No wasted efforts. Every single hit is calculated out to have the perfect effect. As if the live drum sound was transposed from the studio right into the tiny corner of Griffin's that it inhabited. Keys - that color atop, underneath, and all around - added to the bass lines, that play a major melody role themselves and to the afformentioned guitarist, become a fully refined sound that is just beginning to ripen on the vine. The songs flow with ease from section to section, sometimes tugging at your collar, other times, whisking you along for a hyper ride through changing tempos and sections, but always smooth." - Revolutions Live

"MidPoint Music Festival Review"

"The local rag calls these guys from Missouri a mashup of Cake and Porno for Pyros. I note to myself that with the track record on these descriptions so far Bockman might just as easily sound like Amy Grant. I steel myself and head inside.
Bockman don’t sound much like Cake or Porno, but they do deliver a sizzling brand of art rock that I’ve not encountered in a while. Noise fueled, fast tempo instrumental arrangements make me long for the days when art rock was the thing to be. I enjoy Bockman’s inspired noise and marvel at how so much chaos can be controlled.
We decide we’ve like what we hear but there is more to be seen and begin to wander again, thankful that no one, so far, has sounded like Amy Grant."

"The surprise of the night came with Bockman over at RBC. Equal parts Coldplay and early Ben Folds with a Dylan-esque edge, the Missouri four-piece seems ripe for radio success. Driving jangle rock with beautiful vocals, complimented by Andrew Weir’s piano and Rhodes work, set the tone for the layered instrumentation and hooky choruses. Come back again soon, gentlemen." - MidPoint Music Festival

"Chasing Dragons-Hybrid Review"

Pretty much everyone these days talks about how their band defies genre labels, and pretty much everyone sounds like they're a little too pleased with themselves, and a bit too tired of the rest of us, when they say it. Bockman, however, go out on a limb and call themselves "psychedelic prog-pop," which is refreshingly honest, even if it just means they sound like The Slip, TV On The Radio, and maybe a less formulaic Guster.

They take their name from a Kurt Vonnegut Jr.'s book, but there's no ironic absurdity in the songs on Chasing Dragons. In fact, it can be said with absolute sincerity that four of the first five tracks are very cool. Album opener "Tied To The Moon" summons the kind of euphoric vibrancy that only a prominent piano and layers of harmony vocals can impart. Lyrically, there aren't many hooks, but Andrew Weir's oddly new wave vocal style works well as a fifth instrumental voice and the use of synthesizer on songs like "Isis" reminds us that the most memorable parts of some songs aren't the lyrics in the chorus.

Bockman keeps the synth under control, too, unlike many bands that get a kick out of "challenging" our notions of what pop music should sound like. Songs like "Rad" mix electronic and acoustic timbres in ways that suggest pianos and keyboards have more in common than just 88 keys. On "Squirrel View" the bass rolls beneath the song in tandem with the keyboard and trance-inducing chopping guitar chords. It's clear these players are skilled, not just at writing songs, but figuring out how much of any one sound is too much, and then taking a step back.
- Hybrid Magazine

"Chasing Dragons-Goldmine Review"

Fantasy-metal is not Bockman's game, though you wouldn't know it by the Chasing Dragons album title or song names like "Isis" and "Delerium."

With piano as the main instrument, the cover clueing you on that pertinent bit of information, Bockman resembles a less sardonic — and, therefore, not nearly as funny — Ben Folds Five.

But Bockman has other gifts — namely a dynamic, emotionally practical pop sensibility, combined with prog tendencies and the more commercial, pseudo-arty ambition you usually associate with the British (read, The Fray, Travis, Elbow, Coldplay, etc.).

Because of that, some of Bockman's debut release has a faceless quality that's hard to ignore, especially on the "go nowhere and take all day to do it" '60s folk labor of the title track and the dragging, oxen-pulling ballad "Neighbor." There are moments on "Neighbor" where you think the repeated piano chordal pounding will change to something more grand and epic, but it never does. The shame of it all is that "Squirrel View," the track immediately preceding "Neighbor," has the kind of deceptively simple hooks you can sink your teeth into.

Fat synth and flashing guitars play off background psychedelia in a quirky amalgam that's reminiscent of XTC's more accessible material. Pushing the envelope further are "Cruel Morning Dreams" and "How Rad It Was." With its complex drumming, kaleidoscopic guitar effects and blossoming electronica, "How Rad It Was" changes the dynamic, rewrites the rules and gives Bockman a chance to stretch out and hitchhike on whatever acid-laced journey the Flaming Lips have yet to map out for themselves.

In fact, given that its the 40th anniversary of Sgt. Pepper this summer, there's a real playful experimentalism to "Cruel Morning Dreams" that dresses Beatles' pop symphonies in modern indie-pop stylings — twinkling chimes, synthesizer squelches, lush strings, dancing guitar. And while the slow climb of "Calm," cheesy guitar solo and all, may not be the most imaginative arrangement in rock history, but it does have an understated grandeur that makes you not want to give up on it for reasons that would otherwise have you ending this association with Bockman.

Though not everything is pieced together seamlessly, Bockman does strive to be more than a pretty pop face or an emotional crutch for stunted adolescents. And most of the time, as with the sophisticated pop constructions of "Live It Out" and the driving rock and melodic earnestness of "Delerium," Bockman proves that there's more going on with this Missouri quartet than a wish that you would carry its emotional baggage, ala Coldplay.

If Bockman is, indeed, Chasing Dragons, at least it's not wasting its time daydreaming all day long. They could, after all, be attacking windmills like a crazy person. - Goldmine

"Gorjus:Fighting Bockman's Euphio"

What stands out most about this release are (a) the quality of the songwriting and (b) the quality of the recordings. The tunes on Gorjus: Fighting Bockman's Euphio are even more impressive when one considers the fact that this album was a do-it-yourself project. As such, it is most surely one of the most successful independently recorded projects of the past few years. This band's thoughtful and articulate tunes are driven home by exceptional playing. The attention to detail is astounding. Even better yet is the fact that the material is, indeed, truly original. Although we could hear a few subtle, fine traces of bands like 10CC and Steely Dan roaming around in the mix...this album bears little resemblance to other bands currently on the playing field. To add even extra taste and flavor, the band's lyrics are smart, inventive, and rather unusual. Although we hesitate to mention this (for fear that it may scare some potential listeners off), the jazzy flavor that is inherent in many of these tunes is most appealing. Bear in mind, however, that these guys are first and foremost playing pop...the jazz elements only serve as an added support system. This is an exceptional album from start to finish. Independent and/or major labels should take note. This band's material is much, much stronger than 98% of everything out there. Excellent thought provoking compositions include "Patience," "Cold Front," "Sound Bed," and "From What to Where." Recommended. (Rating: 5++ - Baby Sue

"Chasing Dragons- Innocent Words Review"

Chasing Dragons

Bockman is a talented four-piece band whose name was adapted from Kurt Vonnegut's short story "The Euphio Question." Bockman's debut album Chasing Dragons is a perfect start to what should be a successful musical career. For the most part, this is a fun, light-hearted album. It's a less jarring version of Modest Mouse with a touch of modernized Styx. Vocal responsibilities are shared by Wil Reeves and Sean Canan (who, going along with the styx influence, sounds a lot like Dennis DeYoung) while Andrew Weir and Danny Carroll contribute with their instrumental talent.

For Chasing Dragons, the collaboration of piano, cello, trumpet, violin, and synthesizer is the underlying key that ties the album together. The second song on the album, "Isis," contains the lines "maybe the sandman continued the game and it would be a loss to wax and wane." As intriguing as these lyrics may be, they are hard to make sense of. This isn't really a bad thing; it just makes the listener that much more curious—and that much more likely to keep listening. It’s easy to appreciate this album, and Bockman definitely deserves a round of applause for this one.
~ Ashton McCrate
- Innocent Words

"Bockman's Big sound could take on Bono"

At the risk of sounding ridiculous, I would just like to say that Bockman totally freaking rocks.

Chasing Dragons, the band’s first album since shortening its name from the esoteric Bockman’s Euphio, is a testament to what a pop-rock band can do when it stays true to its sound without giving into factions. The band, whose members have previously described their sound as “arena-rock,” performs larger-than-life melodic epics in the grandiose vein of the genre-less greats. Think the believability and raw power of War-era U2 with a little more symphonic edge and less of, well, The Edge.

Often anthemic and over-the-top, these could be songs that Tenacious D would write if the guys from Tenacious D took themselves seriously.

The album begins with “Tied to the Moon,” a driving piano-rock track with lyrical imagery to boot and call-and-response vocals that make the song feel like a hybrid between Ben Folds and The Futureheads. Accented by the soulful, delicate harmonies of the backing vocals, front man Wil Reeves effortlessly rattles off the band’s vivid imagery. He paints delightful images of being “tied to the moon” and “wrapped around stars” for his audience, while stellar vocals and piano, along with guitarist Sean Canan’s spacious, almost pastoral guitars, make the song seem as vast and encompassing as the Midwestern night sky.

“Isis,” perhaps the album’s strongest track, is a well-crafted pop song, expertly combining emotion with accessibility, chock-full of bring-on-the-pathos choruses. Here, keyboardist Andrew Weir has the chance to shine with his intricate, orchestral piano melodies.

The single, “Squirrel View,” packs quite a few punches. While Canan’s bright guitar accents and piano licks are enough to make Chris Martin seethe with envy, the simple, hooky lyrics are lifted to a new level and given a new sense of warmth and humanity.

“Neighbor,” with its barrage of powerful guitar and lush piano hooks, constant crescendo and shoutable lyrics (“too many summers ago/ and it’s gonna be warmer in December/ under a blanket of snow”), is tailor-made for an epic stage show. One can almost visualize the quartet on stage, bathed in blue light, with pyrotechnics firing at will from either side of the stage.

The band proves its ability to supercede genre or customary instrumentation on “How Rad it Was,” with its spacious synths, clacking electronica beats, spacey, distorted guitars and the occasional bongo thrown in for good measure.

Bockman gives breathing room for other local artists to work their magic as well. “In a Cruel Morning,” an energetic bordering-on-electronica track featuring Shannon Diaz of Shirrelle C. Limes and the Lemons, features exquisite, delicate vocals that blend surprisingly well with the track’s sometimes crunching, sometimes wailing guitars.

The title track is a gentle, lyrical blues exercise, with images of dragons building nests registering vividly in the band’s soft, lullaby-esque harmonies. Canan’s atmospheric slide guitar is powerful and an effective reminder of Bockman’s early days bordering on the “jam band” genre.

Chasing Dragons, full of intricacy and amps-up-to-eleven power, reinforces the notion that Bockman could — and should — be playing the packed arenas that its sound is big and regal enough to fill, with fans shouting lyrics back with the same ferocity and passion the band puts behind them on its albums.

But at the same time, I don’t think I could deal with them leaving Columbia.

- Maneater

"11-Course Meal"

It might be easy for a band that classifies itself as "psychedelic prog-pop" to incorporate an excessive amount of synthesized instrumentation to create an out-of-this-world sound. Thankfully, Bockman doesn’t resort to cheap tricks, nor does it seem to be shooting for the moon with its debut album, "Chasing Dragons."

The band is composed of four local musical talents, but it also takes full advantage of Columbia’s musical community throughout the album, from MegaZilla drummer Joey Hook to one-woman opo sensation Shannon Diaz. John Gilbreth, formerly of Oh Yeah! and Bird in Hand, contributes backing vocals on the opening track, "Tied to the Moon," that give the tune just the right amount of bravado it needs to sound theatrical without being melodramatic.

Maura Dunst and Jenn Johanning of the now-defunct Ellie Come Home provide much-appreciated string accompaniment on a couple of tracks, including the orchestral "The Calm Before," which is a departure from the jangle rock on the rest of the album, set for release on Tuesday.

The record at times plays inconsistently, jolting you from jangling to orchestral tunes in back-to-back tracks, which has earned Bockman comparisons to both Coldplay and Ben Folds.

But the joy of a CD is that you can pick which style of song you like. Regardless of which you choose, the songs are instrumentally exquisite without being extravagant, an accomplishment for a band that seems to want to escape its jam band classification. And Bockman’s lyrics are not only catchy but smart, even insightful at times, with imperatives like "Don’t believe everything you read/unless it’s Britney" in the song "Cruel Morning Dream."

Although 11 tracks for a 57-minute album sometimes makes the record seem arduous to get through, the entrees are each at least worth a taste if not a devouring; if not to savor, then at least to appreciate the craftsmanship.

Recommended tracks include "Tied to the Moon," "Squirrel View," "Rad" and "The Calm Before."
- Columbia Daily Tribune


Chasing Dragons (Co-Opt) 2007
Gojus: Fighting Bockman's Euphio (Totoba) 2003



It has been stated that education is what's left after you've forgotten what you learned. A bit of a philosophy, a bit of a cliche, not a bad way to look at the world. And, not a bad way to enter the world of Bockman and their exquisite form of progressive pop music.
The only word for Bockman is progressive. But trying to contain the liquidity of the band's music with words is at best, an injustice...because it's not just pop...because it's not just rock...because it's not just alternative; it's a better alternative.
Everything old is new and everything new hustles to keep up with the shotgun and pace car of trend and technology. Bockman refuses to be deterred by the race. For the past four years, Sean Canan, Danny Carroll, Wil Reeves and AndrewWeir have combined their unique musical backgrounds to develop their own style of songwriting, exhibiting the traits of classically trained musicians and thoughtful songwriters. In the process, they managed something few bands achieve. Bockman successfully exercised their capacity to change and grow musically without sacrificing their startlingly, engaging, live show and their roster of original music.
Never has their sound been more pronounced than on debut release, Chasing Dragons, in which the band tests the strength of their expertly-trained, progressive pop. Bockman creates without imitating. Citing with their music strains of influence-the complex musicality of King Crimson and Yes veined with the modern darkness of Interpol, the emotive ease of Coldplay and the indie rock mentality of Broken Social Scene. But this is no knockoff, no copy. Their improvisational roots are evident in tracks such as "Live it Out" and "Chasing Dragons"; discrete changes in time signature draw the listener in, while a whispering of the theme or melody is continually heard and felt. But there are also tracks such as "Rad" with emotion conveyed texturally, through ambient guitar and horns layered over broken beats and muttered vocals.
If we could ask Dr. Bockman, Kurt Vonnegut's master of euphoria, he would probably tell us that good music sounds like an education in emotion. Can you hear it? It's Bockman. It's what is left after you forget what you've listened to and remember what you hear.