Primary Purpose 2014
Windy city prog quartet and elder statesman explore the song side of CRIMSO canon.
In the eight years since their inception, D97 have garnered a lot of accolades without much ado, and the band’s latest studio work, 2012’s “Trouble With Machines,” featured one of their admirers, John Wetton. It turned out to be more than occasional collaboration, that are numerous nowadays, when the next year saw all five musicians share American and European stages. Cue this recording which focuses on KING CRIMSON classics given a fresh, concise treatment.
Dusting off all but two songs from the Wetton-fronted KC albums, not handling the voiceless compositions and adding “21st Century Schizoid Man” to the repertoire, D97 approach the material with reverence yet never try to restore their original instrumental blast. In a new surrounding, the group’s guest sounds invigorated, especially when delivering “One More Red Nightmare” that he never performed on staged before, while Jonathan Schang’s drums and Jim Tashjian’s guitar give “The Night Watch” a watercolor lucidity, plus a new melodic line, and “The Great Deceiver” a previously unseen sheen. On the latter, having left heavy bass duties to Patrick Mulcahy, the veteran shares vocals with the band’s singer Leslie Hunt, an “American Idol” finalist, pouring a sharper sensuality into the funkified “Lament” and “Fallen Angel” whose riff hints at other pieces of a CRIMSO canon.
Yet it’s a coupling of “Starless” with “Easy Money,” not the dry “Book Of Saturday,” that demonstrates all the depth of D97 immersion into the music they love – and not afraid to reassemble. Much more enjoyable than one could imagine, it’s a great way to pass the time until a new album comes up.