Crisis In Clay
01. Comeuppance (3:48)
02. Broadside Hits and Near Misses (2:21)
03. How-To's of Self Taught (3:40)
04. Bought the Farm (4:19)
05. Simply Agree (1:38)
06. Goliath in the Sights (4:18)
07. December (2:55)
08. Hunter Gatherer (3:30)
09. What Price Virtue? (3:19)
10. Darkened Door (4:54)
11. Encounter (3:26)
12. Willful Suspension of Disbelief (3:41)
13. Cirrus (3:38)
14. Weaponry (1:11)
15. Absolutely, Absolute (3:48)
16. Ringing in the New Ear (0:42)
- Bob Drake / bass, guitar, vocals, violin
- David Kerman / drums
- Sanjay Kumar / keyboards
- Tom Dimuzio / electronics
- Scott Brazieal / vibes
Like others in this genre (namely Miriodor and Ensemble Nimbus for instance) they opt for the shorter, song oriented compositions. They are, however, entirely different from those aforementioned bands. The music style resembles that of Henry Cow before them and that of Thinking Plague after them (In Extremis). I agree with fellow reviewers about Yes (Relayer), being an influence here, it serves as a good point of reference (go over progmonster's and The Mentalist's reviews for more details).
Their sound is to me is filled with a somber and obscure atmosphere. It gives me the impression of being in a cold dark room attacked by this odd intricate musical sounds with weird time signatures that alternate rapidly with a generous amount of dissonance. The sound of the keyboards gives the songs a devilish sound as if possessed and Bob Drake's vocals are flat in that they don't go up and down, but simply sing the lyrics in a rather high note (not unlike Jon Anderson's voice as was noted by other reviewers) but without going too far from this standpoint. Other than being dark, it is intense. Very intense. You are not being given a moment to calm down during the whole album. It keeps coming at you with raw power and energy that at times can be tiring, but overall is what creates this unique experience which is the music of the 5UU's.
For the uninitiated, it may appear at first as a blur, a mess of sounds that have not yet decided where to head and with what scale to align. But this will all come clear in a matter of a few listens. However, this album needs your attention as a listener. This is not background music. This is, as many progressive albums, an album to experience and be attentive to, for if you wonder off, you will miss its very essence and what makes it so good and powerful and it will probably sound like a blur of sounds. It is less than an hour long, so this should be feasible. But due to the nature of the music, it will seem longer than that, and this is not because it is bad, but because of all the traits I have mentioned in the beginning.
In this album (and others by them) you can be sure you will hear well all of the instruments and thus enjoy their performance. All performers here are doing a brilliant job (as can be expected).
Now, while I love this album and enjoy it (as I do with Hunger's Teeth), I can't state that it is a masterpiece, but it does fall under essential listening for me. For a RIO fan, I think it would certainly be essential listening and they would probably enjoy this very much. For others, I suggest to approach with caution, but with open mind and willingness to venture into another form of music, which you may not be accustomed to.