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Cirrus Bay - Whimsical Weather CD (album) cover


Cirrus Bay


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4 stars With so many of the big names in prog releasing cd this year, it would be easy for this little gem to get lost in the shuffle, and yet musically this is as good or better than any of them, not a perfect album, but a quiet masterpiece all the same.

The album begins in classic symphonic tradition with the beautiful 'Circles and Seasons', an 11 minute melodic romp that probably surpasses anything from their first two albums. This song features some great vocal harmonies, amazing chord progressions and beautiful melodies that overall hearkens a bit of Renaissance, Genesis and PFM, but is mostly pretty original for symph. The Hackettesque lead over mellotron swells in the outro is sublime.

'Boundaries' follows, and I'm still digesting this one. Complex, and all over the place, and a right contrast to the pretty 'Wanderlust', with its beautiful vocal section followed by an upbeat instrumental section reminds me of Genesis' 'Inside and Out' in its layout.

'Awake Forever' is the only short track, but has a magical quality one only seems to hear in prog, even if they are doing a short song. A very endearing track, in spite of its shortness.

'Gathering Clouds' is the show-stopper though. This 7 minute instrumental sounds like a cross between Kerry Minnear and Anthony Phillips on acid, and sounds like progressive music that has actually progressed, without losing the stellar melodic content, while still being incredibly complex.

'Me and the Wind' is much different, sounding warm and summery, with a feel of summer soon to end. Some nice Hammond work here, as well as vocal harmonies. The instrumental section has a lot to offer.

Like 'A Step Into Elsewhere', 'Whimsical Weather' concludes with a 'One For The Vine' like magnum opus. 'Across the Cobblestones' is equal to 'Zenobia', the best track on 'Elsewhere', and has that feel, with those killer chord progressions and haunting melodies. Brilliant. A melody lover's paradise.

Hard to complete with all the great new big name releases this year, but up there with the best of them, in its own quiet way, is this lovely album, with some of the most heartwrenching melodies I've heard in years.

Report this review (#775829)
Posted Friday, June 22, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars Cirrus Bay has released their new album Whimsical Weather! To start with this is an album which needs repeated listening's since it is intricate in it's artistic musical design. Cirrus Bay is known for it's progressive style of music much like early Genesis or Renaissance. That is still true with this 3rd commercial release. Among my favorite tracks are Wanderlust, Circles and Seasons, and Me And The Wind. Me and the Wind has a hint of Anthony Phillips in it's flow. I also enjoyed Gathering Clouds which is an instrumental piece. Cirrus Bay has come of age with this new album. It is longer than their previous album coming in at just over an hour. There is one thing I would have liked to see again and that is the use of saxophone in their music. It was featured in their first album A Slipping Of A Day. It would have added a bit more dimension to the production. I also want to praise the whole CD artwork and is stunning and fits the concept of this album. If you like progressive rock with it's different chord changes and surprises then don't miss out on Cirrus Bay's new offering. Great job Bill Gillham and the Cirrus Bay members.
Report this review (#779242)
Posted Thursday, June 28, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars The third Cirrus Bay is most welcome, a lovely release of beautiful melodies and somewhat complex arrangements and not far from their last release, 'A Step Into Elsewhere'. Like that album, it is the first and last songs that are the true classics, rooted in the 70s tradition of artists such as Camel, Anthony Phillips, Steve Hackett and Renaissance, with occasional lapses into something almost Canterbury-sections that are quite complex and beautiful at the same time, examples being the instrumental sections of 'Across The Cobblestones', the albums dynamic closer, and the curious instrumental 'Gathering Clouds'. Half of this album is the best music Cirrus Bay has released, and half is lesser than anything on 'A Step Into Elsewhere', in my opinion, notably 'Boundaries', while having some great ideas and moments, has some drawbacks, such as the vocal effects, and 'Wanderlust', which is heartwrenchingly beautiful during the mid section of the song, but the conclusion could have been more dynamic. Still overall a great album, one of my favorites for the year, and probably as original as 'symph' can be (the heading of neo-prog is inaccurate, and probably earned over the weaknesses of their debut album). Favorite songs: Across The Cobblestones, Circles and Seasons, Gathering Clouds and Me & The Wind.

Edit: after many listens, I have upgraded to 5 stars. 'Circles and Seasons' is just breathtaking.

Report this review (#812132)
Posted Wednesday, August 29, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars Cirrus Bay's Whimsical Weather refines the "Genesis-influenced neo-prog with a Renaissance-influenced vocalist" formula which Cirrus Bay had nailed down reasonably effectively on A Step Into Elsewhere. If you were very enthusiastic about that album, you'll probably enjoy this one a lot too, though equally if you disliked it I don't think Whimsical Weather's going to win you over. For my part, I thought A Step Into Elsewhere was OK, but not a real standout classic, and I don't hear much in Whimsical Weather which suggests that the band have substantially and coherently upgraded their sound since then. In short, more of the same.
Report this review (#1021358)
Posted Wednesday, August 21, 2013 | Review Permalink

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