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David Cross - Exiles CD (album) cover

EXILES

David Cross

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.70 | 27 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
3 stars Obviously most persons' attraction for this album is the Crimson alumni guest list, and this proghead finally remembered reserving this album from the library after having heard a few times at the album's release, back in 97. I had no lasting memory from the album, which did not augur well for itself. And indeed, my memory was fairly accurate, as this album had most elements to be a killer, but turned out like a St-Elmo's fire: ephemeral and doomed to extinguish itself if it was not for some tracks that do

I remember not being impressed by the album's title and artwork, and truth be told, my initial feeling proved rather correct. The artwork proved impersonal and one of the typical "solo" album that flood the markets, and basing the title on one of the Crimson tracks hinted at its weakness. Indeed after a very tedious (and extended) remake of Exiles (Cross's best moments in Crimson) with ex-mate Wetton singing, this cover could simply not match the original and therefore it was doomed even before the first note was recorded. Of course with Fripp and Hammill participating in Tonk, the album is bound to have some highs as well, but the track is little more than an average Crimson clone of Red. The instrumental Slippy Slide is rather interesting with its slightly ethnic (Arab with both the sax and violin) feel and semi-jazz-rock feel, while the needlessly- long, dispensable and spooky ambient Cakes. Trouble really starts with the atrocious This Is Your Life (lyrically penned by Sinfield), which is an awful 80's soft-rock made-for- radio track, where even Wetton does not dare sounding like himself. Another instrumental track alternates between softer jazz-rock passages and loud Crimsonic crunches and Fast becoming one of the album's highlights. Picture a bit Colosseum II.

Troppo is another Hammill and Fripp intervention, and rather different of the other, where Fripp's guitar is inspired and the track is long an diversified and ends up as the album's second highlight. The album closes on another jazz-rock instrumental track, this time closer to XXXX's more aerial moments with a 3-ton guitar oscillating between Fripp and Satriani and ending in a weird a cappela outro.

Well, given the stars hanging around the album's sessions and the scattered Crimson ashes, this album is bound to be in Crimson aficionados' collection, but it is certainly not an essential part of it. And no part at all of this Crimson fan!! Still a fairly worthy album, though.

Sean Trane | 3/5 |

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