(All Album Reviews by Boceephus)
- David Cross / violins
- John Dillon / vocals and bass
- Sheila Maloney / keyboards & vocals
- Paul Clark / guitar
- Dan Maurer / drums
David Cross is the lone bearer of the sound/tone of Larks’ Tongues era King Crimson: heavy, brash, and powerful. Cross assembled a fearless group to perform this off- shoot of the KC family tree. Vocalist/Bassist John Dillion sounds like a cross between John Wetton's strained baritone and Roger Waters' manic delivery, which can at times, be either pleasant or grating, depending on the tune. Paul Clark, on guitars, is the perfect foil for Cross's fierce violin excursions. Razor sharp leads intertwine on nearly every track giving the solo spots a fusionesque edge. Sheila Maloney's keyboards add depth to the rhythm section with colorful chording and repeating motifs. Sheila rarely takes the lead, her sonic space fleshes out the overall textures. Dan Maurer keeps everything on track and consistently shifts between powerhouse bashing and odd metered grooves.
The opening track, “Learning Curve”, makes a strong statement. Cross wastes no time in bringing his violin to the forefront over an interesting bass/drum combo. Great lyrics and scorching vocals pull you right in. “Calamity” shifts and slithers between sweet ambience and spiraling solo workouts. The first two minutes of “Welcome to Frisco” are rather torturous. A violin can be melodic, soothing, exciting or downright ear-rippingly painful: think cats in the throws of passion. The tune does turn around and become more listenable further on, but those first moments cause my trigger finger to hit ‘skip’. “The Affable Mister G” is another study in patience. Dillion's voice is filtered through device creating a sinister effect. This song my also cause the same automatic response as "Frisco." “The Swing Arm Disconnects” reminds me of the slowly evolving instrumentals of Fripp & Co, without the overwhelming crescendo.
“Tripwire” is the most accessible song on the album. Thirty-five years ago it would have garnered a lot of airplay. Almost Asia sounding with heartfelt vocals, catchy hooks and strong melodies. I added this track to my workout MP3 player. You can work up a sweat to this one. “Cycle Logical” sounds like they edited the ending of “The Swing Arm Disconnects” and made it a separate track. The title track is a sound collage that really never takes off, disappointing. “Abo” follows the slowly building blueprint, drawing in an aboriginal drumming sequence and African vocal styled repeated phrase. The song proper begins at about 5 minutes. I get a strong John Wetton vibe at this point. A fine finish to an above average album. David Cross' best work will soon follow.