Very rarely do a band release a great album in a year only to top within 12 months but Crippled Black Phoenix are becoming the masters of this trick. Their latest offering No Sadness Or Farewell is a masterpiece.
It starts off with a 12 minute instrumental called How We Rock which is simply the best thing they have ever recorded. Starting off slowly with some oriental theme going on in the background it breaks into a guitar solo Dave Gilmour would be proud of. The song almost stops, and then the guitar picks out a naggingly repetitive motif before the piano and then drums join in and all the while gently building and increasing the tension. It's like Tubular Bells with added balls - cymbals are added, power chords, choral backing and still it builds. Over 4 minutes to go and there are even real bloody tubular bells joining in now. Listening to this through headphones on heavyweight vinyl is just awesome as the whole thing reaches a crescendo before letting you down gently and leaving you with the ringing bells.
There are other tracks but you need to breathe and relax after that opener. Hold On (So Goodbye To All Of That) starts like U2 at their most pretentious before deciding to end the song an an accapella crowd sing along.
Jonestown Martin is just indescribable really - Heavy guitar, synths effects stolen from Hawkwind and according to the sleeve notes 'Monk Voices' !!
It all ends with Long Live Independence a galloping rocker very similar to Laying Traps from the last album (which was good enough to nominated in the Prog Magazine awards recently)
This is a band so full of invention and variety that they deserve so much more than to be adored as cult heroes by those who dare to try. This is the real Prog for the new age and not the tepid outpouring of one Mr S Wilson
How We Rock - indeed......