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CD Review: Tugging at the Infinite 

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Rock ’n’ rollers have their own version of the American Dream: to quit their day jobs and write that symphony they’ve always wanted to write. Last year keyboardist Neil Alexander finally did so, leaving Pink Floyd tribute band The Machine and spending six months writing and recording Tugging at the Infinite with his personal project, NAIL. Fans of supercharged synth funk will be glad he did, as these eight tracks deliver the goods with an army of heavy sidemen. Standout cuts include the stellar “Starlight Casts No Shadow,” dedicated to a late friend, musician Suzy Star. The song starts and ends as a twangy rock ballad, but funks out in the middle, and is led by Alexander’s ear-grabbing piano and the hot rhythm section of  T. Xiques on drums and Charlie Knicely on bass. The album is primarily a studio effort but includes two live tracks; one of these, “The One That Got Away,” features the killer tenor sax of Norbert Stachel of Tower of Power. There are no electric guitars on this record, but even savvy listeners will be put to the test as Alexander’s keyboard mastery allows him to mimic some of the greatest six-string licks. The spectrum of styles across this instrumental CD—from synth waves to hectic drums and bass-style jams—keep the disc fresh on every spin. NAIL will hammer the Chthonic Clash coffeehouse in Beacon on June 16.

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