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TO KEEP FROM CRYING

Comus

Prog Folk


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Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
3 stars Give it another halfstar really!!!!

The second album from Comus came some two years after the release of First Utterances and the accompagnying maxi-sigle release. By this time Comus had disbanded and at the demand of Virgin record executive , they briefly reformed to record this sequel. Although there are moments of sheer brilliance that remind you of the debut album , as might be feared with the conditions mentioned above , not much good can be awaited from such a situation.

Some of those tracks are really awkward (and plain embarrassing if you are a Comus fan), most notably Figures In Your Dream , Supernova and Perpetual Motion with bad chorus lines. However, Down and Children Of The Universe as well as the title track are very worthy tracks taking you back to the debut album , and the highlight being the excellent Get Yourself A Man make this album still worthy of the hunt but by all means you'll find it on the Song To Comus retrospective, don't go dish out the price for the vinyl.

Still a correct album though, but hardly equal to their masterpiece debut album.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#28567)
Posted Thursday, March 04, 2004 | Review Permalink
greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is very good progressive folk music. Well, there are lots of acoustic instruments involved: acoustic guitars, bassoon, saxophone and tons of xylophone among others. The tracks are quite loaded, and the main attraction is this highly pitched childish & fragile female lead vocals: one can easily fall under its charm: very addictive indeed! There are not tons of keyboards, but they are at the right place at the right time. The bass is definitely not timid. There are couples of psychedelic parts which IMO remove some worthiness to this record, but compared to their "First utterance" album, this record is quite more down to earth and less strange. It may sometimes sound a bit like the Mike Oldfield of the 70's, or even Sally Oldfield.

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Send comments to greenback (BETA) | Report this review (#28568)
Posted Thursday, April 08, 2004 | Review Permalink
soundsweird
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I bought this LP back when it came out, purely on the basis of the instrumentation and the "guest artists". I had never heard of the group or its now-legendary first album. Since it was on the Virgin label, I expected something similar to other acts on that imprint. I couldn't get into it at the time (the vocals were just too high-pitched!!), and sold it after a couple of listens. About 10 years ago, I heard and bought "First Utterance", and wished that I had kept that LP. Then, a few years ago, I found a guy at a record convention who was selling burned CD's of his scratchy LP, and bought one for $5. Listening with a different attitude, I liked the album a lot more. I see it as an attempt to be more progressive and commercial than the first album, and I like almost half of the album. To me, if there are several good songs on an album, it's a great album. Never mind "cohesiveness" or "consistency". That's why there's a "Program" function on CD players. I only listen to songs I like. I would certainly love to see this get an offiicial release.

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Send comments to soundsweird (BETA) | Report this review (#28570)
Posted Monday, November 22, 2004 | Review Permalink
hdfisch
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars Edited 10/02/05!

I've to admit I even did not like their highly acclaimed first release, simply because I found it only unique but not enjoyable to listen, mainly because of the shrill female vocals that are causing a pain in my ears. On this one here they are even more obvious and moreover most of the album is sounding terribly commercial. Only "Children of the Universe " is quite a good song on which even the vocals sound nicely. IMHO this band is not really interesting and worth checking out, their only two releases are of an extreme contrast to each other. The first one being too strange and not enjoyable, still bearing some hopes for something better to come. But obviously this did not happen, instead the band went towards a more commercial direction which was a "cul-de-sac" for them as well.

Finally I've to say that this album is even not worth for completing their short discography because even the ones who loved their debut will be terribly disappointed. If you don't mind shrill vocals and you're satisfied with 1 or 2 fairly good songs on an album you might check it out. It has a few not so bad moments, but for me this is not enough to call it a good one. 1 1/2 star at the maximum!!

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Send comments to hdfisch (BETA) | Report this review (#28571)
Posted Monday, February 14, 2005 | Review Permalink
kaligon@prome
4 stars I think that this is very iteresting album. Down (Like a Movie Star), Children of the Universe , So Long Supernova and To Keep from Crying are real masterpiece of progressive rock. The ather one are interesting tooq This is enough for me and i think that this second album is Excellent addition to any prog music collection.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#39461)
Posted Thursday, July 14, 2005 | Review Permalink
Trotsky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
1 stars Human beings can be incredibly stubborn. I was amply warned before taking on Comus' second and final album and I knew that many of those who sampled To Keep From Crying came away bitterly disappointed. Yet I was sure that since both vocalists Roger Wooton and Bobbie Watson and bassist Hellaby were holdovers from the earlier incarnation of Comus, and that Wooton had been the main songwriter on both the stunning first album First Utterance and this effort, To Keep From Crying couldn't really be all that bad. What I got was one hell of a kick in the groin ... because this album is a catastrophe!

I don't know what possessed Wooton to make album like this. Well I do have an idea. Essentially after coming out with First Utterance in 1971, Comus had dissolved the next year leaving the concept album, The Malgaard Suite tantalisingly unrecorded. Two years later, the then fledgling label Virgin offered Wooton the opportunity to revive Comus. Unfortunately without the main instrumental talents (guitarist Glenn Goring, violinist Colin Pearson and keyboardist/flautist Rob Young) who had propelled First Utterance, Wooton attempted to make a commercial pop-rock album.

The eerie tones of Wooton and Watson are completely at odds with the pedestrian pop-rock tunes that Wooton wrote. Some songs are downright laughable like the opener Down (Like A Movie Star), the sunny pop song Figure In Your Dreams and the rambling, pop-soul wannabe track Get Yourself A Man, which is full of painfully off-key vocals from Watson. Bassist Andy Hellaby makes a couple of totally forgetable attempts at creating soundscapes (Waves And Caves and Panophany) and this album is generally awful.

Only one track is remotely close to being worth of the name Comus, and that, Childen Of The Universe is more of an enjoyable folk-rock track in the vein of The Strawbs or Fotheringay than it is classic Comus.

Like its predecessor this album sunk almost immediately. In this case however, the public were right. I implore you all to stay away from this one. ... 18% on the MPV scale

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Send comments to Trotsky (BETA) | Report this review (#60215)
Posted Monday, December 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
clkarob@nbnet
1 stars Quite the comedown from what was a mindblower of a first album. It's almost as if they lost all their quirkiness & interest in experimenting & just put a straightforward kind of prog folk album.If you're still interested, I recommend trying to find some of these songs to sample before you make a purchase. It's not that it's bad, it's just that it's competent, & nothing more.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#107152)
Posted Thursday, January 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album, whenever mentioned by people I know or by people writing reviews always seems to get the short end of the stick when compared to their debut. I am really tired of this. I've been listening to this album A LOT lately and can safely say that if they had never made First Utterance, people would be gushing about finding a copy of To Keep From Crying. The funny thing is, I'm really glad Comus recorded First utterance for two reasons:

1. First Utterance is an awesome album. That goes without saying.

2. To Keep From Crying is a beautiful response to the darkness of their first statement. Much like "Poesies I and II" by Comte De Lautreamont was a response to his masterwork "Maldoror". The problem is evil is much more provocative and immediately gratifying that good (Who reads Dante's "Paradiso" anyway?). First Utterance is intensely dark and horrifying which makes for a highly entertaining listen. When anticipating a follow up, I imagine most listeners want more of the same which is not what they got, which is a big reason for the slagging of this album. I don't understand. Over the course of 4 years, people change. The melodies are AMAZING on this album. The arrangements are very creative and injected with various avant garde, proggy ideas throughout. Yeah it's a folk rock album; a bit more "pop" and "rock" than the first. But honestly, the first album ain't Stockhausen! It's just creepier!

And okay, there are a couple tracks that maybe aren't quite as good. But I can say the same for First Utterance.

To Keep From Crying is a brilliant, addictive art-folk/rock record with amazing high pitched singing (which I love) and a positive overall message of love.

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Send comments to Yacub (BETA) | Report this review (#131237)
Posted Wednesday, August 01, 2007 | Review Permalink
Prog-jester
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Personally I see no evil in second COMUS effort. I mean it is not that bad as many reviewers tend to see it. Their debut was dark, their second one is light. That one was epic, this one is more song-oriented (with some average and forgettable tracks especially from the middle of the album). But the main COMUS powers are presented – strong songwriting and professional musicianship, eerie atmosphere and pastoral nature. Special mention must get the title track – it reminds me of these 6/8 romantic bluesy songs David Lynch likes to use in his nightmarish movies. And it’s simply marvelous. Rough lengthy “Get yourself a Man”, dreamy “Touch Down” and scary “Waves and Caves” sound as if they were “First Utterance” outtakes! After all, it’s a very good and solid album, though not as much challenging as their first one. Recommended without hesitation!

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Send comments to Prog-jester (BETA) | Report this review (#132823)
Posted Sunday, August 12, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars I have read the reviews and listen to the album. I will not say it is as good as First Utterance, but being neutral, it's not bad either. Comus goes pop on this album, but they don't do it bad. It's refreshing to hear music from them and i think the esence of the band's sound it's still there. To keep from crying has alreadya hit: Down (like a movie star), and there's some more outstanding songs like childen of the universe, so long supernova and figure in your dreams. Touch down seems to be a remanent of First Utterance, but can't make it because the level of that album is great and this song just don't fit in. Overall, i have a great time listening to this album and enjoy hearing a different side of Comus.

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Send comments to Juliovp (BETA) | Report this review (#178841)
Posted Tuesday, August 05, 2008 | Review Permalink
Queen By-Tor
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
1 stars Acid folk gone commercial? Oh no...

After listening to the excellent debut album from Comus, it's hard to believe they could fall too far from the tree with their second release, and yet somehow they have with this album. Who knows what happened, maybe the band decided that they wanted to release a hit single, maybe their management said that they needed to abandon the whole ''acid folk'' thing - but it certainly is clear that the ''acid folk'' thing is what they were good at, and it shows. The band would also break up after the release of this album (although there have been talks about them reuniting, now 30 years down the road), and it was probably for the better, because this record is hardly listenable.

Gone is the inspiration and the striking originality of First Utterance that made it such a quirky and fun listen. All of the tracks on this album could have been put to tape by any other band and they would have sounded much better. Wooten lays off on his voice for this album, which is probably for the better since his voice is very quirky and while it certainly can be used for good instead of evil the songs on this album really aren't a good place for him. Take for example the highly annoying Perpetual Motion where Wooten attempts to sing some sugary soft rock and does so with the same voice that was used on Drip, Drip. Other songs on the album are just oozing with commercial substance, hoping to get some notice, but the band kind of forgot that their fanbase weren't exactly the mainstream music buyers. Did they really expect to walk into a disco club somewhere and hear Down Like A Movie Star blasting on the stereos? This opening song really is a good warning track to anyone venturing into the album. A typically structured song which wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't so annoying - if you can't sit through this song its best to use the album as a coaster.

The biggest problem with the album is that there are no ''hidden classics'' to save the album, no songs that really stand out above the rest. Once we get through the shocking opener it's just track after track of what is either dribble or just forgettable. Many of the songs are just soft and slow with no power behind them. Take for example the low-key Get Yourself A Man, which could have been the album's saving grace - being the 7-minute long song on the album - but it's simply a lazy meandering of instruments put to the tune of way too high pitch of vocals that fail to really help out in any way. Other songs on the album are the same, the boring and lazy Touch Down is a welcome retreat from the monstrosity of an opening track, but that only hides the fact that it's not that great of a song it itself.

To Keep From Crying is indeed what you'll need to do if you enjoyed the band's first album. This couldn't be further removed from the lost gem that was First Utterance and it's not one of those cases where the band shifted gears for the better. This is one of those albums that you should avoid unless you're an avid collector of the band, although it does come with the Song To Comus boxset, which is pretty much the only way you'll find the band's albums on cd at the moment, so in that case you're stuck with it anyways. Still, this album is just bad, and unfortunately has no redeeming features to it. 1 star.

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Send comments to Queen By-Tor (BETA) | Report this review (#201620)
Posted Wednesday, February 04, 2009 | Review Permalink
Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars It's NOT "First Utterance!" Get over it!

This poor album. It is the bullied runt of a two dog litter. It's the Oliver Twist of rock and roll. It's the little reindeer dog to the "First Utterance" Grinch. Everyone that plays this album carries with them all of the expectations from the masterpiece "First Utterance" and when they find "Crying" is not a repeat, their disappointment cannot be contained. It is true that "Crying" lacks the sheer power and breadth of FU but it has its own charms if you judge it on its own terms. You have to put FU out of your mind and listen with fresh ears as if listening to a new band, which you essentially are. And you have to be a fan of a more sunny approach-which this is. After the release of FU Comus began to experience difficulties as a band and amazingly the album that so many consider a classic today was not warmly received by critics at the time. They continued to tour but by '72 the friction caused by a lack of future prospects saw Comus coming apart at the seams. Things floated in limbo as key members left the band over the next year or two. Then suddenly from nowhere Virgin Records came out of the woodwork and expressed interest in another Comus album. The band were less-than-thrilled to be reforming and indeed Goring, Pearson, and Young would not return at all. New members were added to the remaining group of Wootton, Watson, and Hellaby.

As I said, you need to purge your head of Comus as you know it before spinning this album. It is a completely different trip. Gone is the chaotic pagan vibe of sinister woodland ritual. "Crying" sounds more like a lost Brian Wilson album, like the 2nd cousin of "Smile" with a bag of charms derived from catchy melodies and incredible vocal performances. Yes these tracks sound more "pop" but they are not cheap throwaway pop music, in fact I believe there remains some darkness to this material, it is simply shrouded by the kind of cheery mask that some psych-pop bands employed. It approaches pop the way Roxy Music or Bowie did, in a playful, quirky manner. While Wootton himself recalls the album with less than pleasure, one must remember that the artist is not always the best judge of their own work-no doubt his memory is affected by the admitted personnel and side management issues that were plaguing Comus and their members. For me listening to "Crying" without those memories I can tell you that I thoroughly enjoy these songs. "Down" opens the album with something that sounds like a tight Bowie single covered by Comus, probably Virgin's best hope for the single that didn't happen. It's a more conventional rock track than anything from FU with full drumming and big time bass. "Touch Down" is a slow, trippy number that shows off the gorgeous high end vocals that Wootton and Watson were capable of together. "Figure in Your Dreams" is Bobbie Watson having a ball with a very sweet and playful, old-fashioned sounding number, Wootton backing her with lots of "ba ba bas." I can see why some would criticize such an obviously light-hearted number on a prog site, but if I pause my cynicism mode I just love every second of it. "Children of the Universe" is a real hippie anthem if there ever was, melodramatic in verse, then overblown in the chorus, but again skillfully arranged and irresistible to me. (I interrupt this review to announce that I have officially just fallen in love with the voice of Bobbie Watson.) "So Long Supernova" and "Perpetual Motion" are more of the light-hearted pop that apparently so irritates their fans and again I'm just immersed in the vocals, they are all about fun and a high-gloss outer sheen. Yes, ear candy, easy and innocent. Perhaps some of it is tongue-in-cheek gaudiness but not every quality prog-folk release needs to cover rape and hangings. Have some fun, too. And then Bobbie really swings for the fences, going positively Laura Nyro for "Get Yourself a Man." If I didn't know better the first time I heard it I would swear it was from an early Nyro album-just lovely, then it finishes with a rippin' little sax solo. The title track closes the album with a heartwarming lullaby, Watson sounding as if singing to you from a dream..sounding so far away..it is a great track. In the mid section the bass or guitar has strange effects attached giving it a mild distortion. The ending builds to a dramatic, sentimental climax with keyboards getting quite bold. This is followed by a short postscript. There are actually three short ambient interludes mixed here and there which give the album a bit more character. These were the result of bassist Hellaby's interest in effects and "musique concrete."

"Crying" is just another side of Comus..it is the light whereas "First Utterance" was the dark. Take them in as separate musical experiences and realize up front that Crying is a folk-rock/pop album with a sunnier disposition-it is still a tremendously satisfying pearl to me. I'm so happy I didn't listen to the poor reviews on this one, the music on this album literally lifts my spirits. Crying was released in the summer of 1974 and sank without a trace as the band dissolved for over three decades-til now, when Comus is rising again. They are doing live shows now but we can only hope they will attempt to record the second lost album that was supposed to follow First Utterance, the mysterious "Malgaard Suite" which was a "Lord of the Rings" style concept piece with long tracks-it was completely written and played a bit at shows, but never recorded. One can dream.

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Send comments to Finnforest (BETA) | Report this review (#207474)
Posted Monday, March 16, 2009 | Review Permalink
Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Errors and Omissions Team
2 stars From brief skipping through other's reviews, I got the idea that not knowing their first album is the best thing I can do. I will try to rate fairly, but at first, I have to stop being confused by how I understand this album. Because honestly, I don't know what to think. And this may be the reason why some people rate extremely poorly, while others simply try to counteract it, because they feel this album is good enough and has a lot to offer.

Well, three years passed since album I never heard and Comus sound has changes a lot. Or it has not, depends how first album sounds. OK, this is ridiculous, you can't do it that way, let's just review what I hear on this album.

Weird type of Folk, very strange and unusual. First song is utterly Pop, which isn't very good choice for first song on the album. But later on, we get more elements that can be called Prog Folk. It's still weird though, but it may be just me. Dual (triple?) vocals of distinct man / woman sound that accompanies mostly shorter songs, which can be interesting nevertheless of length.

It's quite melodic (but nothing cheap, robbing other's work), it's flowing easily and the far you get (to the last After the Dream track), the better it is.

3(+), I still feel that there is something bad. But there are good elements too.

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Send comments to Marty McFly (BETA) | Report this review (#285876)
Posted Thursday, June 10, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars To Keep From Crying ? 1974 (4/5) 12 ? Best Song: So Long Supernova (and others)

What is it? Comus have turned into the Byrds? Yeah, that'd be a good joke to tell around a classic rock campfire. What's even funnier? The Byrds turning into Comus. Hey it could happen. I ain't even gonna deny. But for the longest time I was fighting to obtain this album (it isn't exactly top of the list on Itunes). Needless to say I was quite surprised when I first sat down and listened to it. 15 minute epics detailing violent murders? Aggressive, tribal rhythms and psychologically deteriorating personae? I expected that stuff. What I didn't expect was a minor folk pop masterpiece god damn it. In a way, the folks who weren't able to get into the band from their one notable album due to the 'strange' excess, but still want dark and melodic folk, you might just take this as a veritable haven.

I know that I was quite impressed right from the start. 'Down Like a Movie Star', 'Touch Down', and the ever sweet 'So Long Supernova' are all rich and organic, sweeping and gorgeously harmonic. It's as if they took their style, matured it a few millennia, infused it with later-era Beatles, and cut down to simple (in the good sense of the word) folk pop. It's so much prettier than anyone could have made me believe. It's one of the best of the early 1970's. 'Waves and Caves' is an eerie instrumental interlude that utilizes dark guitar feedback. 'Figure in your Dreams' has this inspiring male/female trade-off that's absolutely beautiful. It's not as good as the debut?that's what everyone wants me to say.

And hey, I can agree with that. I adored First Utterance. But my god is I shocked at how damn fine To Keep From Crying actually be. At one point in time today (after listening to it several times) I was tempted to give the 13 to this?but I snapped back into my senses. Man, critical opinion can be insipid sometimes. As a note, the 'Songs to Comus' compilation that contains every song they recorded (containing all the tracks from both studio albums, the previously unreleased First Utterance outtake, the rare Diana maxi-single (with previously unheard, wonderful B-sides), and a couple Wooton solo songs thrown in on the end to boot) is a case where the record companies just got it right. It's not going to be reviewed here (unless I get the urge), but it would be given no less than a high 13/low 14. It's that much of a good deal, sir.

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Send comments to Alitare (BETA) | Report this review (#440446)
Posted Friday, April 29, 2011 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars COMUS released two albums in the seventies, the cult classic "First Utterance" in 1971 and this aptley titled record from 1974.The band had actaually broken up in between these two albums, but they were brought out of retirement as it were by Virgin Records who saw the potential of this band and no doubt thought maybe they'd luck out like they did with Mike Oldfirld's "Tubular Bells". Not even close. In fact this shouldn't have even been the second album as they already had written and performed that album but never actually recorded it. It was called "Malgaard" and it was the logical followup to "First Utterance". It was a concept album in the "Lord Of The Rings" style.The label out right rejected it though and eventually the band lost their manager but continued playing live as long as they could before folding.THIS album is a disaster. None of the band wanted to reform to begin with as it had been 18 months since they called it quits. Some of the original band members refused to be involved yet even the replacements were dropping out. It was a shambles.The music here is pop / rock commercial drivel to be honest.

I'll be brief. "Down (Like A Movie Star)" is acoustic guitar and clapping to start as a full sound arrives.The vocals sound like he inhaled helium. Poor at best. "Touch Down" is better with that spacey background but the vocals only take away from it. "Waves And Caves" is a short 1 1/2 minute atmospheric instrumental.The highlight sad to say. "Figure In Your Dreams" is strummed acoustic guitar as female and male backing vocals join in. Awful. "Children Of The Universe" is a melancholic track with male and female vocals. I like when it gets fuller. It's not bad at all. "So Long Supernova" opens with cello and is an upbeat track. "Perpetual Motion" is where they slow it down with strummed guitar as piano and vocals join in. It reminds me of the THE MAMAS & THE PAPAS but with poor vocals which kind of defeates the purpose. "Panophany" is 30 seconds of strange sounds. "Get Yourself A Man" opens with piano as female vocals join in.This is by far the longest track at over 7 minutes.Synths join in as it gets fuller. Sax late to end it. "To Keep From Crying" is a mellow tune with laid back female vocals.It does get fuller. "After The Dream" is the soft one minute instrumental closer.

It's been a while since i've listened to something this poor.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#453805)
Posted Sunday, May 29, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Had this album been made in, say, 1969, it would probably be groundbreaking. Pretty pop songs with a folk touch and competent musicianship (Roger Wootton's vocals kind of being the weakest point, though that doesn't mean they are bad). However, it was made in 1974, after most of the things this album is doing had already been done, and the songs themselves aren't that strong to overshadow their obvious influences, which range between The Beatles, Beach Boys, T Rex and even ABBA (see the track 'So Long Supernova'). In inevitable comparison to 'First Utterance', there are virtually no similarities between that album and this one (Roger Wootton's vocals in the first track remind a little, but that's pretty much it).

Overall, a pleasant, but not very attention-grabbing album. Forget that you ever listened to the début and I'm sure you'll find it enjoyable.

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Send comments to Ludjak (BETA) | Report this review (#455681)
Posted Wednesday, June 01, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars I wouldn't be so harsh about this album as many others tend to be. Yes, it lacks sooo much schizophrenia and strangeness which were impossible not to love in "Utterance" but still it keeps a good quality and has its own gems. I simply can stand and applause for songs like "To keep from crying" and, of course, "The children of universe", the latter must be heard played very loudly! Oh, and "Get yourself a man" became my "guilty pleasure" although I would say it's a little bit overextended. The album has some poppier moments but actually I would recommend to give it a chance and listen without prejudice. It's kind of sad that band chose to change their vision of music completely, though...

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Send comments to Ragana (BETA) | Report this review (#525406)
Posted Saturday, September 17, 2011 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Recorded with a different lineup from First Utterance - generally closer to the rock mainstream than the earlier incarnation of the band - and in a strikingly different folk-pop style, To Keep From Crying might be a different aspect of Comus' music, but it's undeniably a less interested one. The fact is that mushy soft rock/folk-rock material like Figure In Your Dreams, So Long Supernova or Perpetual Motion was not exactly thin on the ground in the 1970s, and Comus' take on the style doesn't add much to it. Down (Like a Movie Star), the opening track, has an air of mild hysteria to it which keeps it vaguely interesting, and a couple of short instrumentals reveal somewhat more interesting musical ideas bubbling under the surface, but they are crowded out by third-rate, forgettable material like the miserable Get Yourself a Man.

I wouldn't call it outright incompetent, but I can't give this one more than two stars - this is nothing more than middle-of-the-road mid-70s folk-pop, capably performed but without anything which really sets it head and shoulders above the rest of the crowd. Taken by itself, without considering the exceptional First Utterance, I'd still say it's a dispensable two-star slice of nothing; in the wake of the band's first album, it's one of the greatest disappointments in prog.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#526736)
Posted Monday, September 19, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars I've been a big fan of Comus' masterpiece called "First Utterance" for a long time. "First Utterance" is a dark journey through a sick mind. What really attracts me is the crazy groove and disharmony they're having at times, like the second half of "Drip Drip". The use of acoustic guitar on the whole album is one of my biggest inspirations when I play the guitar. My weird chamber of inspiration for playing the guitar includes Roy Harper, Comus, even Radiohead. When Comus surprisingly released a new album in this year, I thought I should listen to their second album from back 1974, which is, for the most people, lost in the shadow of its predecessor.

Apparently, in 1974, after two years of hiatus they had, there have been some big changes in the band. Keyboards and drums came in. The sound and the feeling is in a very different place than their first album. That's why it's hard to get into. It sounds like a folk rock album with Comus essence here and there. It's like "First Utterance" and The Beatles had some passionate love and "To Keep From Crying" is their bastard child. But not every bastard has a miserable life. I sat down and listened to the bastard. He told me what he had to say. He pured himself down for hours. And I really enjoyed the journey of the bastard. The bastard has spoken to me and he has spoken good. God, just, finish the paragraph already!

I've spined the album for like five times and I thought it was a good album. After a month of other awesome music, I came back to this. The reason I'm writing this review is that I loved every second of this album and I think it deserves much more attention than it got. It's normal that at first a listener would think Comus has lost some very important qualities they had when they recorded "First Utterance". But if you listen to "To Keep From Crying" close enough, you'll understand that they still had those wonderful qualities, but they built new qualities onto that. It's hidden in the melodies. Of course it's not the second "First Utterance" but it really has this wonderful unique personality that is very hard to hear at the first impression. It has so much to say, yet I don't hear any Comus fans listening to it so much. And I thought, what the hell, maybe I'll make a person or two enjoy this album. Give it time, there's a good chance that he'll give you so much.

The new album of Comus is a come back to their true style. And I believe most of the people just miss the chance of even meeting this bastard we have here. I'm here to say "I think you should meet him".

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Send comments to talha (BETA) | Report this review (#795494)
Posted Friday, July 27, 2012 | Review Permalink
GruvanDahlman
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars I am a fan of change and development in music. A band needs to develop their sound down the years to stay interesting. And besides, how could a band, as indeed any human, stand immune to developing oneself? It is nigh on impossible, if you are at all sensitive to your surroundings and personal visions. That is why I applaud daring and courage to change, maybe not always improve, but re-evaluate ones perspective.

When Comus recorded their follow up to First utterance, a brilliant piece of demented folk, they found themselves writing songs more accessible than their previous effort. The result was an album of folk rock that while not bad did not reach up to their true powers, as it would seem.

I have approached this album with care over the years, always finding myself puzzled. I could not make up my mind as to the albums contents. By Comus standards or folk rock ones, what's it's worth? I am, probably, plagued by First utterance and also Out of the coma, when I write this. The brilliance of album No.1 and album No.3 is so omnipotent and ever present that it is hard not to compare To keep from crying with these two. Yet I find it to be an injustice. You have to compe each album for what it's worth, not only in comparison to other, maybe greater discs. Still I will attempt to review the album on it's own strengths, rather than on other albums powers.

Now then, what's it like? The album is, objectively speaking, a mixed bag. There are tracks of great worth, such as the title track and "Children of the Universe". These are folk rock and haunting in a good way. Oh, and "Get yourself a man". That is a very good folk rock track aswell. These tracks do appeal to me, as a fan of folk. They are not so much in the vein of First utterance, which is good actually, since I've bellowed out my love for change. But then there are the main bulk of the album, which is so and so. "Down (like a movie star)" seems to be an attempt at askew and dementia in First utterance style, only slightly more radio friendely. For me it doesn't work. I don't like it. I could keep the title track and "Children of the Universe" and only return to the remainder of the tracks if nevessary.

In conclusion, To keep from crying is a decent folk rock album with it's moments but also alot of stuff easily forgotten. The cover of the album is intriguing and gets my attention. The Comus magic is there, as it can be found, though rather hard to detect sometimes, in the music itself. Overall, it could be said, the music differs not only in style but also in the performance, due to the fact that the instrumentation is more contemporary with alot of electrified sounds. This is not bad. Actually, the keyboard in "Get yourself a man" is quite haunting and gives the piece a somewhat uneasy feeling. That is good but it doesn't make the album any better. The material is, like I wrote, a mixed bag. It almost feels as they through it all wasn't sure of the direction in which to go. All accessible or terrifyingly askew, as previously?

The rating has to be three stars, for me. Two for the music and one for the effort. Still, the three tracks I've mentioned are top notch prog folk pieces which ought to be more recognised.

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Send comments to GruvanDahlman (BETA) | Report this review (#1045114)
Posted Friday, September 27, 2013 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Well, this album must surely rank as one of the worst falls from grace in musical history. After releasing the outstanding phenomena FIRST UTTERANCE in 1971, Comus dropped off the radar for a few years changing up their lineup and returning 3 years later with their second offering TO KEEP FROM CRYING. I'm guessing that maybe the title refers to their loss of inspiration and direct channeling of the god Comus after being lured to the pop side of music, perhaps inspired by Roger Wooten's involvement with Slapp Happy.

Upon first listening I thought this was absolutely horrible! The songs are goofy and clumsy and all I could do is compare them to the previous album. I can totally understand why this album is as disliked as it is. However, I loved this band enough to give it more than a simple brush off and threw these songs on my ipod and heard them pop up randomly. After hearing them off and on for over a year, I grew to appreciate a few of them more. The problem is the kernels of some of them are interesting but they are underdeveloped and some are really, really bad. Some of them are quite amusing. I'm being generous but I think I can give this 3 stars.

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Send comments to siLLy puPPy (BETA) | Report this review (#1069459)
Posted Thursday, October 31, 2013 | Review Permalink

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