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Crooked Mouth - Crooked Mouth CD (album) cover


Crooked Mouth

Symphonic Prog

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4 stars This is an introduction to the world of Crooked Mouth music. It's melodious textures integrated into a somewhat stifled hard rock format are pleasing to the ear and results in a surprisingly addictive album. Having been lucky enough to hear some of the demo tracks from their forthcoming follow-up,a Hold In The Sun, I can safely say that the next album will blow this completely out of the water, however that is not to say this isn't worth a listen - merely that this band are getting better and deserve far more exposure than they've had.

The first full track, Strange Days, is preceded by the album's short intro, Crossing The Rubicon. An evocative and gentle song, Strange Days reminds me of Barclay James Harvest. The beautiful instrumental section at the end weaves strings and piano amongst the guitar and drums but I can't help feeling it cries out for an extended guitar solo.

Mass Driver II is a more upbeat effort and the first track to introduce female backing vocals. This gives it a folk-rock sound similar to All about Eve and Mostly Autumn. The presence of a guitar and hammond solo establish this track as a rock song and the double bass drumming on the outro confirm this.

Ocean & Sky begins with a Peter Gabriel era Genesis intro and continues with the early 70's rock sound. Again some beautiful backing vocals supplied by Eilidh Swanson mix the melodic with the harder edge. Some greater stuff from drummer Tony Hodge here.

Raindance is possibly the best track on the album and displays the mature lyric-writing capabilities of songwriter Ken Campbell. Vocalist Kenny Haig sounds suitably weary for the subject matter of this atmospheric number. Keyboardist Simon Ellis features on piano confirming the level of talent with this band.

Acrobat and Time & Again show the great compositional arrangement and performance aspects of Ken Campbell's music. A powerful song that introduces the "big" button on the drums. You feel like you could float on the huge waves of keyboards on this beautiful track. The flute played by Ali Wilson compliments the atmosphere of this song.

Time & Again (Erosion) marks a return to a more rocky sound. Again nicely constructed with some excellent piano/guitar interplay and the trademark backing vocals and ebow.

Last Call For Curtain Trips is wonderful, with a slow lead guitar again using Ken Campbell's weapon of choice: the ebow. An elegant piano and spacey keys plays against the backdrop of a light, high-pitched acoustic guitar loop.

I love this album but it loses a star on the production - a shame. 20% of the proceeds go to Sight Savers International in Africa so there's a reason to buy this as well as the fact that it's great music.

Report this review (#132327)
Posted Wednesday, August 8, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Scottish band from Edinburgh, set up in 2000 with guitarist Ken Campbell being its undisputed leader and main songwriter.During April of the following year recordings for the band's debut begun at Sound Cafe Studios, involving singer Kenny Haig, bassist Chris Stenhouse, keyboardist Simon Ellis and drummer Tony Hodge as regular band members, although Alison Mitchell on flute, Eilidh Swanson on backing vocals and Lynne Campbell on additional keys helped throughout.The recordings were finished in May 2003, followed by a private release of Crooked Mouth's debut, carrying the band's name as a title.

Although the band is listed as a Prog act in various sources related to Progressive/Art Rock, their debut has little to do with the movement.This is pleasant melodic and straightforward Rock music with more Indie than progressive influences and the only acts coming to mind are Hogarth-era MARILLION, concerning its poppy tunes throughout, or RIVERSEA's and COSMOGRAF's early efforts.The vibe of the album is optimistic, offering catchy and easy-listening material with decent guitar leads and solos and limited contribution by keyboards (with some Hammond organ present as well) and piano.Instrumental passages are out of the question, most of the material is vocal-based with lots of rhythmic parts and typical guitar explosions, while a couple of melancholic ballads are thrown in for good measure.Compositionally the tracks are fine and tight with good vocals, memorable moments and a fair amount of dynamics, but instrumentally the album comes as a rather flat and one-dimensional production with electric and acoustic guitars being the primary driving forces from the first to the last minute.The long ''Acrobat'' seems the be the most interesting piece, despite being also the calmest one.Very nice, emotional vocals, folk-tinged flutes around and orchestral keyboards result a quite nice long composition, that eventually shows some potential.

''Crooked Mouth'' is not really representitive of the band's talent.If you enjoy catchy Rock music, torn between emotion and music passion, this should offer some nice spins.But the lack of intricate moves and the poppy flavors around are making this work a forbidden listening for fans of demanding Progressive Rock...2.5 stars.

Report this review (#1044926)
Posted Thursday, September 26, 2013 | Review Permalink

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