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Credo - Rhetoric CD (album) cover





3.84 | 114 ratings

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kev rowland
Special Collaborator
Crossover Prog Team
5 stars Just to let you all know the score between me and this band, at one time in their career I was getting gigs for them and assisting them with promotion etc. I was there the night when the contract with Cyclops Records was signed for 'Field Of Vision', and this album has followed only eleven years later. Singer Mark Colton and I first got in touch with each other when he was with Casual Affair: when that band broke up I then wrote the newsletter for his next band Freewill, and when he joined Chequered Past (later renamed Credo) I started following them around as well. When I got married only two people knew in advance as they were the witnesses, and one of these was Mark. Many years later I was asked by Mark and his wife Elaine to be godfather to their younger son, and I even traipsed out to see him one night front a folk rock band called Phyre!

So, there you have it. Eleven years is a long time for any band to produce their second album, during which time more than a few things have happened. Musically they brought in Shadowland (and currently Landmarq) keyboard wiz Mike Varty which changed their sound as it meant that Tim Birrell finally had someone to play against (poor old Mik Stovold was never in the same league), while drummer Paul Clarke announced one night after a blinding gig that he was also off and he was replaced by Martin Meads from the aforementioned folk group! The line-up is completed of course by the one and only Jim Murdoch who as well as playing bass also assists Mike with the backing vocals. And then there is Mark, who got married, had two children, and was at one point only thirty minutes from dying. Luckily there were some very clever consultants around that managed to keep him in this world, but there were many who thought that this album would never be completed. Even now he is still having to attend hospital and is a long way from being fully fit, but he is back singing and very much full of enthusiasm for the band.

The album which I first heard clips from back when Mark was still single has finally made it out. It seems years since I was in the studio listening to Martin lay down the drum tracks with Karl Groom et al, but it was. There can probably be as few waiting so eagerly for the finished product as I, and it wasn't until the CD finally arrived that I believed that it was real. Looking at the track listing I recognised many from those heady days playing in Staines and other toilets, but putting it on the player I know that it never sounded like this! This is polished neo-prog that we never hear these days, songs with a meaning, with a singer who can turn on the vitriol when he needs and somehow is also singing better than ever - given what Mark was going through during this process the result is nothing short of incredible as they have produced an album that is going to rate as one of the best of the year, whatever the genre. But you're biased I hear you cry, and maybe I am, but hopefully those who know me would realise that if I felt that this was under par then I would say so. It just isn't possible to fault this in any way - Mike is an incredible keyboard player as anyone who has seen him will agree. There aren't many who have been chosen by Clive Nolan to fill his own shoes, while Tim Birrell managed to shrug off an approach from Fish who wanted him for his own band and who is I firmly believe one of the best guitarists around, and is Credo's secret weapon as no-one outside of those who follow the band know who he is! Martin and Jim have a real understanding, nailing the rhythm to the floor either slowly or flying with a passion, and then there is Mark. Mark is probably more of a frontman than just a singer, as he throws himself into every performance with passion, but here he has proved what a bloody good singer he is as well.

Nine songs, with two of them over eleven minutes in length, but the one that I feel has to be singled out appears half way through the album and is just under eight minutes long. I was there at The Compasses the night that "The Letter" had its first public airing, the night when the person that it was directed at fled to the toilets in tears. Back then it was full of passion and incredible guitar, but somehow it has now become so much more. If ever a song builds to a climax then this is it, with Mike much more to the fore - giving the song balance, while Jim also changes his bass approach during the song which gives it further depth. There is a polish and togetherness which wasn't there before, with the vocals flowing and providing the background for Mark to vent his passion, his anger. I could rave about all of these songs - the wonderful intro to "The Game" or the closing masterpiece that is "Seems Like Yesterday", but all the numbers have benefited from a new approach and cleaner, sharper, but also very layered, arrangements.

There are various quotes within the well-designed booklet, one of which is "Nostalgia isn't what it used to be" and while in some ways I look back to those days when Credo were playing anywhere and everywhere, even driving up the M1 to Mansfield, but I know that the band I prefer are the one who have finally released their second album, an album that is going to surprise and delight a great many people. 'Rhetoric' is a delight, an album of great songs by a band who have been through a lot to get this far - so now is the time to support them by going out and buying it. For more details on the band visit or buy the album from It doesn't get any better than this.

kev rowland | 5/5 |


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