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Cyan - The Creeping Vine CD (album) cover

THE CREEPING VINE

Cyan

 

Neo-Prog

3.37 | 43 ratings

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SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
4 stars Creeping triumph

The Creeping Vine is, in my opinion, the album that stands out among the three Cyan studio albums as the best one by far. While he had already proven that he is a competent songwriter, keyboard player, guitarist and vocalist, this third album was where Rob Reed finally found his own musical expression. This album is a much more personal and unique statement than the previous two Cyan albums that were both good but also a bit anonymous. These songs are memorable and charming and lead vocalist Nigel Voyle sounds a lot more assertive here than he did on 1994's Pictures From The Other Side. On that earlier album he often sounded as if his heart was not fully in it, but here he is very different. Another distinguishing feature of The Creeping Vine is that Reed is no longer playing all of the instruments himself. There is for the first time a fulltime drummer as well as a bass player. This brings with it a band feeling that was missing on earlier releases. In addition, Reed also brings in some guests including Nick Barrett of Pendragon on guitar.

Reed is exploring various different moods and styles on this album. The framework is Symphonic Prog, but there are elements of Folk and Jazz and more inside. Also the topics vary widely; the confessions of a naughty priest in The Original Sin, Nordic mythology in Valhalla and good old-fashioned romance in the out-and-out Prog Folk of Gwenan just to give three examples. The incredible thing is that he manages - despite the many styles involved - to tie it all together into an organic unit that is strongly appealing to this reviewer. Mike Oldfield is a standing influence on Reed and during the folky/Celtic moments, the sound here reminds me of that of the very good Prog Folk band The Morrigan whose leader and guitarist Colin Masson is also strongly influenced by Oldfield's work.

The three first tracks are among the better ones for sure, but the rest of the album does not disappoint. I Will Show You Life is probably the least good song on The Creeping Vine. The "Rap"-section in this song might perhaps put some Prog fans off, but it is actually not that bad. The nearly ten minute track Goodbye World shows a strong influence of classic Genesis with lots of very good Tony Banks-like keyboard work. The closing title track is another long one. This one is more rhythmic and displays some almost New-Age/World- Music vibes and an anthemic chorus that forms a great culmination of the album before fading out to some "nature sounds".

Overall I would say that The Creeping Vine is an original and generally superb disc. This is definitely the place to begin with Cyan. Reed would go on to form Magenta and the present album remains the last Cyan album to date (and probably ever?)

Highly recommended!

SouthSideoftheSky | 4/5 |

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