In a tangle of night and daylight sounds, violin-wielding Crimsonite is looking for omens.
On the face of it, David Cross‘ world has turned inside out in the decade that passed since "Closer Than Skin" saw the light of day, and that record’s follow-up is riding a much more extrovert wave, if pieces such as “Crowd Surfing” are anything to go by. This almost orchestral composition’s consonance with an ominous bird of the fervent title track may signal a change, and, indeed, the interim in Cross’ solo work – marked by the release of a live album – found him share creative ideas with other artists but, in fact, there’s a continuity to David’s oeuvre. For the veteran, the “inside out” turn is one of a Möbius kind, and any celestial movement can be a microcosm of cerebral activity: hence the elegant heaviness of it all, and Richard Palmer-James’ lyrics to fully capture the mood.
Starting with “Starfall” to pick up where his communion with Robert Fripp left off, the violinist adds vigor and anger to what was nebulous and quiet before, in order to let Jinian Wilde’s voice define one’s turmoil and lay memorable harmonies on the throbbing line, a piano placating the pain. “Raintwist” wraps anxiety in jazz rock tropes, as instruments pass the melody around, but the blunt riffs of “Spiderboy” once again switch heroic gravity for the music to float in folk strains at every angle possible until their tangle fills a mental space. Still, there’s a romantic core to it that’s bared once Paul Clark’s guitar soars above “The Pool” and the ballad’s dynamics rise from a shimmer to shine.
Sarcastic “Mumbo Jumbo” has a mighty metal plate for a base which sends tuneful splinters up the air, but Mick Paul’s bass shoots them down into a mesmeric soundscape that is “Water On The Flame” – flickering with crimson tongues, elegiac and expansive – until the delicate drops of “Rain Rain” fall and bring a black-winged thunderstorm. Yet this sinister sign is so full of promise that there’s a dance in it, and a wonder, too, because if it wasn’t for bad luck, one wouldn’t have no luck at all.