RPWL Stock

RPWL is much more than simply an acronym for the surnames of the four founding members: this former Pink Floyd cover band from Germany is also one of the best progressive rock bands around — and it doesn’t hurt at all that front-man Jurgen "Yogi” Lang is a dead ringer for David Gilmour’s warm tenor. Kicking off their third album with a masterful reading of Syd Barrett’s "Opel,” the band then gets comfortably numb by settling into an old Floyd Division Bell-era pattern with "The Way It Is.” The ten-minute "Gentle Art of Swimming,” one of the album’s highlights, follows in a U2 groove with echoing guitar and bending keyboard accoutrements on the choruses and bridges; Andreas Wernthaler’s synth solo midway through is a bit precocious, but afterward the keys assume a more Kansas-styled stance and the song greatly improves. "Who Do You Think You Are,” possibly an answer to the song "Who Do You Think We Are” from 2000’s God Has Failed, even sounds like Rubber Soul-era Beatles. The final track (hidden and rightfully so because it doesn’t fit in with the rest of the album) has a distinct "Girl from Ipanema” vibe thanks to Karlheinz Wallner’s studious fretwork. In a relatively predictable genre, Stock effortlessly transcends the prog hoards for a laid-back yet surprising example of expert musicianship and taste. (Inside Out)