Cross are a Swedish progressive rock band. They are eponymously named after their founder and the driving force behind the band, Hansi Cross, who plays keyboards and guitars, and provides vocals on this release. The remainder of the band is made up of bassist Thomas Christensen and drummer Tomas Hjort. Mats Bender, although not a fully-fledged member, provides supplementary keyboards. ‘Da Capo’ is the band's tenth studio album and contains 5 tracks which, according to the press release, are re-recordings of tracks that were originally written and recorded between 1990 and 1993.
The album starts with 'Fire', a near 14 minute track which begins with a keyboard fanfare that reappears as a motif throughout the track. The song is mid-paced throughout its duration, is somewhat meandering and slightly ambient in places. It reminds me of Lifesigns in its approach except that the vocals have a slight discordant edge to them which have the aural effect of almost slowing the song down. The cut doesn't really have any hooks as such and, despite several listens, it didn't embed itself in my brain.
The second track on the CD is 'Dream Reality', another long track of 9 minutes length. This song features another keyboard motif, this time reminiscent of a keyboard riff from Yes' ‘90125’ album. The motif drives the cut along, thus giving the track a sense of pace lacking from its predecessor, with Cross' vocals on this number evoking John Wetton. Up next is a short instrumental track, of less than 2 minutes, entitled 'Changing' which, it could be construed, acts a bridge between the 2 halves of this release.
The penultimate track is 'Visions' and, in my opinion, is the best song on the album. It is generally more up tempo than the other pieces and is also more compact, at 7 minutes, meaning that it has less chance to meander and thus is more memorable. The keyboard solo on this cut is particularly good. The final song is 'Courage', another lengthy track, clocking in at over 14 minutes. It too features a keyboard theme that reoccurs throughout its duration. Although it picks up half way through, the cut falls into the same trap as the first 2 tracks in that it tends to ramble without being particularly memorable.
Overall, the bad news is that this album is not as good as 2012's ‘Wake Up Call’ for the reasons given above. The good news that the band can take from this, however, is that I feel that this means that the band's songwriting and composition skills have improved from the early days when these songs were first recorded and that is progressive in the true sense of the word!
Review by Dave Uphill
30th Oct 2014
2) Dream Reality
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"...the band's songwriting and composition skills have improved from the early days when these songs were first recorded and that is progressive in the true sense of the word!"