Melodic Revolution Records [Release Date: 30.09.14]
Back in November 2012 I had the pleasure of reviewing Corvus Stone’s first album – and some album it was too, having progressive rock at its heart but incorporating a myriad of other styles and making it one of the most interesting efforts of the year.
Fast forward two years and along comes the band’s sophomore album imaginatively titled Corvus Stone ll.
So, would they fail to live up to the promise of the debut? Would they have cut down the enjoyable diversity in search of a more cohesive and recognisable sound?
The answer to both questions is have they hell – in fact, it is safe to say that, if anything, the diversity is even greater here.
Such is the multiplicity of styles, you cannot switch off for a moment for fear of missing something – progressive rock rubs shoulders with folk, jazz, heavy rock, samba rhythms, you name it, it’s here and not just over the course of the album but within each and every track to almost bewildering effect.
If they were still at school the band would surely be diagnosed as having Attention Deficit Disorder as they don’t seem to be able to concentrate on any one style, genre or subject for more than a minute.
All this could easily lead to a confusing listen but, such is the quality of the musicianship and songwriting, the overall feeling is one of a band that knows exactly what they’re doing – and what they’re doing is, by turns, loud, quiet, brash, introspective, serious, hilarious, progressive, retrospective, and pretty much any other adjective you could think of.
Led by the irrepressible Jeff Beck guitar sound of Colin Tench and the exceptional keyboard work of Pasi Koivu, the band’s diversity is further expanded by the use of a host of different vocalists including Sean Filkins (ex-Big Big Train) and Blake Carpenter (Minstrel’s Ghost).
Sixteen tracks (!) in all and every one a gem in its own way – from the dreamily floating ‘Early Morning Call’ to the fabulous guitar wig-out of ‘Boots For Hire’, from the film-noir ‘Mystery Man’ to the wonderful Santana-like samba rhythms of ‘Scandinavians In Mexico’ the highlights just keep coming – and the smile on your face just gets wider and wider.
One of the real joys of this album is ‘spotting the band’ – from the Focus influenced ‘Mr Cha Cha’ you then think you’ve heard a bit of Queen, a snatch of Zeppelin, was that ELO? That was definitely Deep Purple’s ‘Highway Star’ – but just when you think you’ve got it another shows up and the brain-wracking starts again.
And joy is the word to sum up Corvus Stone – serious musicians for sure – but obviously having a good time and producing exceptional music that is just so much fun.
And isn’t that what music is all about? ****
Review by Alan Jones
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