Melodic Revolution Records: Released November 2012
I do a radio show for Get Ready To Rock Radio (third Sunday of the month at 5pm -you should check it out!) that goes by the name of ‘The Eclectic Mix’ – which pretty much does what it says on the tin and draws together a load of great tracks from an assortment of genres.
For the next show I think I’ll save myself the effort of compiling a tracklist and just play this album in its entirety.
Corvus Stone is a disparate group of fiendishly talented musicians from places such as Sweden, Finland, United States, Belgium and others, who have put together an album of such stunning complex diversity it’s hard to believe they all recorded their parts separately and emailed them in to be mixed and mastered.
The album is eighty minutes long. It has an amazing 21 tracks. It is, in turns, deep, shallow, frivolous, cinematic, dense, serious, hilarious.
Whilst always having progressive rock at its heart, one glance at the tracklist is enough to tell anybody this is going to be a roller-coaster ride.
With track titles such as ‘October Sad Song’, ‘After Solstice’, ‘Ice King’ and ‘Lost And Found’, the prog credentials are laid out for all to see – but then what to make of titles such as ‘Moron Season’, ‘Moustaches In Massachusetts’, ‘Iron Pillows’ and ‘Ten Inch Lisa’? Or what about ‘Intermission’, ‘The Rusty Wolff Attack’, ‘Scary Movie’ and the wonderfully titled ‘JussiPussi’?
The answer is not an easy one. There are just so many influences here that it’s difficult to take it all in at one sitting. You think you’re listening to Camel, this segues into an Emerson, Lake and Palmer groove, but then is that Focus I hear? Or a bit of Gentle Giant? Maybe even a soupcon of the Grateful Dead. But that’s definitely the Bonzo Dog Band – then the riff from ‘Smoke On The Water’ appears for chrissakes.
To say the album sustains interest throughout is understating just what it is – that being a genre-bending tour de force that has the listener eagerly anticipating the next track to find out if it’s as great as the one being listened to.
All kinds of highlights all over the piece – the surpisingly progressive ‘Moron Season’, the dense title track ‘Corvus Stone’, the outstanding fretwork on the instrumental ‘Moustaches In Massachusetts’, the (ahem) cinematic sweep of ‘Cinema’ and the totally immersive ‘Scary Movie’.
And how could we forget to mention the Bonzoesque exuberance of ‘JussiPussi’? It really is as great as it sounds – and I defy you not to laugh.
All told, this is a fabulous album. It has a dark side for sure, but the sheer flamboyancy of the playing coupled with an almost self-deprecating ‘joie de vivre’ is an absolute joy and I, for one, could begin to understand just what it feels like to be a ‘mad, swivel-eyed loon’ at the album’s conclusion.
Review by Alan Jones
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