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Citizen Cain - Serpents In Camouflage CD (album) cover


Citizen Cain


Symphonic Prog

3.49 | 102 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
1 stars Ahaha. So, you know how people like to diss early Marillion and claim it just sounds like simplified Gabriel-era Genesis? (They're wrong when they say that by the way - Marillion's early sound was a much more interesting blend than that.) Well, take all of those blithe dismissals and apply them to Citizen Cain, because at least as far as this album goes they are entirely true.

In particular, lead vocalist Cyrus' vocal style is so close to Peter Gabriel's in his more flouncey and dramatic theatrical moments in Genesis that it just plain has to be a deliberate imitation - but Cyrus overplays Gabriels' vocal habits so much that it crosses the line into parody. Furthermore, for a lot of the album his vocal delivery isn't nearly as varied as Gabriel's - whereas Gabriel could adopt a sweet, gentle tone at times, Cyrus is locked into the "pretentious proclamation" voice more or less permanently with only a few digressions. The end result is that for the first few minutes of listening to a Citizen Cain album I am usually impressed by Cyrus' impersonation of Gabriel - but it isn't at all long before it begins to bug the hell out of me.

The musical backing isn't so hot either; keyboardist Stewart Bell seems to be reasonably talented but it sounds like he's cursed with rather cheap equipment which sounds cheesy and dated to my ears, whilst Frank Kennedy's guitar solos are reasonable enough - only he just doesn't stop soloing. Which brings me to the problem with Citizen Cain's compositional approach: they seem to construct songs by lashing the crescendos of Genesis songs together and showboat constantly, not realising that it the buildup to such crescendos was an absolutely vital part of the original compositions which can't be dispensed with lightly.

On the whole, Citizen Cain come across like major league Genesis fans who wanted to produce a neo-proggy update of their favourite band, but didn't quite understand how Genesis put their songs together and what influences shaped them, so they end up mimicing the most obvious and distinctive quirks of the Genesis style without any deeper appreciation or mastery of the underpinnings of the great ones' craft.

In other words, Citizen Cain is cargo cult Genesis.

Warthur | 1/5 |


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