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David Cross Band - 'Sign Of The Crow' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/21/84/09/David-Cross-Band-Sign-Of-The-Crow-45-1520884947.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     March 12, 2018    
 
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A very enjoyable album indeed and one I'm sure I'll return to frequently.

Renowned for his violin work with King Crimson in the early seventies, musician and actor David Cross formed his own Progressive Rock band as far back as the mid-eighties. He's thus far released five albums on his own Noisy Records label between collaborating with other artists, most notably ex-boss Robert Fripp for the instrumental 'Starless Starlight' opus in 2012. Album number six is again composed by the core trio of Cross, guitarist Paul Clark and bassist Mick Paul, alongside assistance from KC lyricist Richard Palmer-James with the instrumentalists completed by keyboardist Alex Hall and Frost*/Steven Wilson drummer Craig Blundell. However, it was the arrival of singer Jinian Wilde in 2008 that has perhaps been their biggest coup and gives them accessibility alongside their undoubted playing skills.

If you don't go a bundle on Crimson's obtuse and discordant interludes then fear not, the David Cross Band temper their few "out-there" moments with some enjoyable vocal melodies, not least the multi-tracked voices on opener 'Starfall', which also includes a brief Prog Metal opening, a complex instrumental break and a striking violin solo, as well as a dramatic spoken section.

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Complementary vocal parts also fill the title track amongst many solos and a heavy bass and drum groove, whilst the simple verse and hummable chorus of 'Crowd Surfing' sounds not unlike Threshold, albeit with some random noodling in the middle. The album takes a slight mid-way dip with the moody instrumental 'Raintwist, and the Eastern-sounding 'Spiderboy', with its alternate instrumental and vocal parts, but thankfully 'Mumbo Jumbo' is a little more direct and tuneful than the title suggests.

Some of the longer pieces are also the best and easiest on the ear; Cross' fantastic violin on the serene instrumental 'Water On The Flame' and the two nine minute epics 'The Pool' and 'Rain Rain', the former with its superb vocals and subtle violin and guitar solos, the latter hinting at Kansas (like all bands with a violin ultimately do!), with a beautiful intro merging into a wonderfully tuneful Rocker. Self-produced to a high standard, 'Sign Of The Crow' is a very enjoyable album indeed and one I'm sure I'll return to frequently.

Phil Ashcroft

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