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Citizen Cain

Symphonic Prog

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Citizen Cain Ghost Dance album cover
2.61 | 52 ratings | 9 reviews | 2% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Boxset/Compilation, released in 1996

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Plaeatea (1:38)
2. End Of All Songs (8:17)
3. Question Of Sport (6:37)
4. State Of Confusion (4:22)
5. Missionary Position (7:12)
6. Ghost Dance (4:39)
7. Tabernacle Of Hands (8:03)
8. Unspoken Words (5:39)

Total Time: 46:27

Line-up / Musicians

- Cyrus / bass, voice
- Gordon Feenie / drums, keys, flute, guitar, vocals
- Tim Taylor / guitar, keyboards

Releases information

CD Mellow Records MMP 302
Compilation of 80s demos by the band's original trio line-up

Remastered and reissued by Festival Music 2012, 201212A

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Cesar Inca for the last updates
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Buy CITIZEN CAIN Ghost Dance Music

CITIZEN CAIN Ghost Dance ratings distribution

(52 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(2%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(17%)
Good, but non-essential (38%)
Collectors/fans only (31%)
Poor. Only for completionists (12%)

CITIZEN CAIN Ghost Dance reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Prog-jester
3 stars You may regard it as a collector's stuff, but I liked it.I like CITIZEN CAIN , though they're not my favouritest GENESIS-like outfit (also they're less Symphonic then that Italian band I like most ;-) ). "Ghost Dance" is a good collection of songs, poorly recorded and produced, but the material itself is good enough. Ballad-like dark parts changing into nervous and fast ones, Cyrus is a perfect Gabriel clone, and the whole atmosphere is pretty nice. Mostly Neo-Prog...Symphonic-related mainly due to obvious GENESIS-type Prog. Recommended to die-hard GENESIS fans and CITIZEN CAIN collectors mainly - "Somewhere but Yesterday" is definetely more essential while not a Masterpiece too ;-)
Review by NJprogfan
2 stars When you throw this disc on you'll be whisked back to the mid-80's when bands like Marillion, Pallas, Pendragon and IQ ruled the prog airwaves. In terms of status, Citizen Cain were a second tier neo band at best. Their punk attitude with frantic herky-jerky pacing ala Squeeze and psuedo-Fish mixed with Pendragon's Barrett vocalizing make most of the songs sound disorienting. On this disc of their early material, Marillion and Pallas are their template, which isn't a bad thing, it's just that there's isn't any memorable melody to latch onto. The only song that I can praise is "Tabernacle Of Hands" with a very good melody and a chorus that sticks around awhile, yet towards the end they return to some chaotic instrumentals killing the mood. I'd like to hear their later albums which from the reviews I've read come out as more favorable with a leaning more towards classic Genesis. The sound here is young and green with some talent but unpolished. This album is geared more towards fans of the band who would only want it to round out their collection. So 2 stars it is.
Review by ZowieZiggy
1 stars This Scottish band released two decent albums so far. Fully neo-prog (I do not really understand how comes that they sit in the symph genre BTW) and "Genesis" oriented. Pleasant music.

This album is a compilation effort (?) of their oldest material. Same sort of stuff like "Once Upon A Time" from "Pendragon" or "Seven Stories Into 98" from IQ. But worse.

There are no melody in the voices, no spirit in the guitar play. The rhythmic section sounds as a garageband (but "Citizen Cain" does not come from Garageland). This is profoundly noticeable during "Tabernacle Of Hands" even if some flute notes will provide some breathe of fresh air into this polluted musical display.

Their poorest song ever is certainly "State Of Confusion". Indeed, the listener is plunged into some sort of demo track with awful vocals, extremely bad guitar "noises". This album is a collage of poor to average (at best). Just forget about this one. For collectors only. What a painful album. One star.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Supposedly a debut

Ghost Dance was actually a debut album for Citizen Cain. The material was recorded in the cassette format for demo version. One song Unspoken Words was featured in a compilation called as Fire In Harmony altogether with Europe The Final Count Down. Only after Citizen Cain was successful with Somewhere But Yesterday album in 1994, this cassette was released in the form of CD by Mellow record. That's why you can see the sound quality and production is not good at all. But for those who have been through with the band, this album should be owned. I purchased it when I owned already Serpents in Camouflage (93), Somewhere But Yesterday (94) and Raising The Stones.

Musically, the material contain here is actually not bad at all if you do not expect originality of music style. Yes, as we all know that Citizen Cain is pretty much Genesis Gabriel era kind of music. If you claim yourself as Gabriel era fan, you may find the opening acapella Plaeatea (1:38) by Cyrus is very interesting and it may remind you with the way Gabriel sings Can You Tell Me Where My Country Lies? at the opening of Dancing With The Moonlit Knight. The music enters with the next track End Of All Songs (8:17) where Cyrus really explores his Gabrielesque singing accompanied by Genesis-like music similar to Nursery Cryme album. The bass guitar playing and electric guitar are dynamic and sometimes they play complex notes and chords. There are breaks with guitar fills that are similar to Hackett style. It continues nicely to next track Question Of Sport (6:37) where Cyrus emulation of Gabriel voice sounds very close. Again, this is not a bad track at all especially if you remove the troubled recording / mixing quality. I am sure is you are a fan of Genesis, you would enjoy this track.

State Of Confusion (4:22) brings the music in faster tempo with energetic voice line, good guitar work. There are many Hackettian breaks throughout this energetic song. Missionary Position (7:12) is basically a bass-driven composition with high register notes vocal line. Ghost Dance (4:39) brings the music faster through combined work of bass guitar and guitar. This song lacks melody, I think. There is break with dynamic bass lines followed by acoustic guitar. Tabernacle Of Hands (8:03) starts nicely with an acoustic guitar work followed by electric guitar rhythm section and then vocal. In the middle of the track Cyrus explores his voice, emulating Gabriel theatrical acts. The album concludes with melodic Unspoken Words (5:39) which I knew in the Fire In Harmony compilation. If the recording quality is good, I believe that this is an excellent track.

Overall, the music contained here in this supposedly debut album by Citizen Cain is actually good despite poor recording and mixing quality. For those Gabriel lovers, this might be a good choice. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW (i-Rock! Music Community)

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars After reading several reviews of "Ghost Dance", the last thing I wanted to do is to buy this album, but as I mentioned in a past review, bought three CITIZEN CAIN albums very cheap and this album came with the trio.

So with reluctance placed it on my CD player and what a surprise, the album is very good, specially if we know that the music from this record is previous to their supposed debut "Serpents in Camouflage", when the band had a totally different formation and were still in the search for their definitive sound.

The first thing you notice is the poor recording because "Ghost Dance" was originally a demo released only in cassette and later upgraded to CD after the success of their first two albums, but well we are here to talk about music not production. It's also incredible to notice that the main instrument is the bass played with great skills by "Cyrus" who reminds me more of RUSH than of GENESIS as most people claim.

The album is opened with a nice acoustic overture called "Plaeatea", after the beautiful 1:39 minutes that set the music in motion,the band hits us with "The End of All Songs" which is clearly inspired in RUSH with an outstanding bass performance, vocals very close to "Fish" and very interesting contrasting sections, something very brave for a demo, being that the complexity of the structure is mot the best option to encourage a label, but IMO the result is surprisingly good

From this point, each song presents us a strong bass and vocals as a constant. Even when the keyboards are hard to be listened due to the terrible production, the interplay between the trio is pretty good, specially with "Tim Taylor's" guitar and "Gordon Feenies" Percussion, the rest of the instruments (added by the same three musicians) are not as str9ong as expected for a third release of a band, bun incredibly good for demo tape.

Even when Ghost Dance is not a masterpiece in the level of CITIZEN CAIN'S two first albums, it's a strong release that can be enjoyed by the audience and deserves no less than 3 stars.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars By mid-90's with Citizen Cain going through a period of success with good albums and sales Mellow Records made a great steal.The Italian label collected the 80's unreleased material of the band at a time when Cyrus was supported by original drummer Gordon Feenie and guitarist Tim Taylor.The recordings date from mid-80's and the title of the archival 96' release was ''Ghost Dance''.

Citizen Cain was always a very dark-sounding band and ''Ghost dance'' is the greatest proof.Although the sound of the band has always been linked with MARILLION and GENESIS, Citizen Cain did have their own style and presented much more haunting atmospheres than the aforementioned bands.Some of the guitar breaks even recalls KING CRIMSON, while plenty of the grooves have a strong RUSH vibe.Sure thing they do not sounded like the mass of Neo Prog bands of early- to mid-80's except of Cyrus' voice, who was another PETER GABRIEL copycat, alas a very good one.The compositions are characterized by the very powerful and deep bass lines of Cyrus along with Feenie's solid drumming and the diverse and sharp guitar work of Taylor.Working as a trio prevented Citizen Cain to have the richest of styles back at the time, so keyboard and flute parts are sparse.However ''Ghost dance'' presents a group full of energy, high dynamics and passion for producing top-gear Progressive Rock with rapid changes and shifting moods.

A nice archival/documental release by Citizen Cain, although I can see many fans of the band prefering their 90's period, when their sound was richer and less raw.Still this one comes recommended, especially for all lovers of the early-80's rough British Prog stylings.

Review by kev rowland
3 stars Over the years I have had to cull my collection various times, so the filing cabinets full of press releases and band information had to go (although I did keep my complete files on certain bands), as did many of the CDs. But, I kept every photo I was ever sent, along with every cassette. Many of those bands are no longer with us so these tapes are sometimes the only thing left to remind me of what might have been, but here I am now playing a remastered version of a CD that I previously was unaware of (apparently it was released on Mellow at some point), which in turn is of a tape that I was originally sent by Stewart Bell twenty years ago. The CD contains the same track listing as the tape, which was subtitled 'The Original Citizen Cain 84-87'. It isn't easy to track down a biography of the band from these early days, but luckily I have also never thrown out any music books so by referencing the first issue of 'The Progressive Rock Directory' (written and published by David Robinson who now runs Festival Music which has released this) which came out in August 1992, I am pleased that my recollection of events is right (for a change).

Citizen Cain were originally a trio, forming in 1984 with George Scott (now known as Cyrus or Xyrus) providing bass and vocals, Tim Taylor (guitar and keyboards) and Gordon Feenie (drums, keys and flute). Interestingly, Tim and Gordon were previously both members of Not Quite Red Fox who turned a pre-Marillion Fish down as a frontman because he didn't have enough presence! Over the next three years Citizen Cain gigged a lot, especially in London at The Marquee and started to gain a reputation as a slightly different sounding band due to the way that the bass is often a lead instrument. They had one song on the famed 'Fire In Harmony' compilation, but had to split up after Cyrus was in a car crash that left him unable to play bass. After he returned to Edinburgh he then met up with the guys who would then form the basis for a new group, who went in a more symphonic and overtly early Genesis direction.

So, history lesson out of the way, what is this album actually like? Well, remember that it isn't actually an album as opposed to a collection of songs as they only officially released the one song during their existence. But, given that this originally was a set of low-key recordings from the Eighties it actually stands up well against the other material from the time. Yes, Cyrus has a distinctive voice that makes many think of Gabriel, but these guys sound nothing like Genesis with a bassline and approach that is quite different. I would be interested to hear what they sounded like in the live environment, as keyboards are an important aspect although not essential, and I am sure that Tim switched between the two during a gig as Cyrus is often playing lines that are far more than just backing. This was a powerful prog trio and one can only wonder what they would have achieved if the accident hadn't taken place.

Some people have been quite disparaging about this album which is a real shame as I believe that it definitely has it's place in the prog canon. It is something that I have really enjoyed playing, but just remember that this was early days for the band and in many ways it is totally different to the style they developed in the Nineties. So, although some may feel that this is only one for completists I would instead say that while not essential it is a damn fine listen and something I have enjoyed playing again after quite a while.

Review by Warthur
3 stars Citizen Cain are largely known on the prog scene for what you can regard as their "Mark II" lineup - with band founder and lead vocalist Cyrus and keyboardist Stewart Bell as the core of that unit, having emerged from the shadows with the original "Citizen Cain" demo tape in 1991.

However, delve back into the mid-1980s, when the original wave of neo-prog was riding high, and a different incarnation of Citizen Cain is revealed. A three-piece unit consisting of Cyrus, Tim Taylor, and Gordon Feenie, the group made enough waves on the scene to attract the attention of Elusive Records - a label started by Marillion's then-manager with a distribution deal via EMI, which was intended to provide a launchpad for neo-prog acts arising in Marillion's wake.

As it stood, Elusive didn't end up releasing that much; they got Pendragon's debut EP (Fly High Fall Far) and album (The Jewel) out to market, and they put out a sampler entitled Fire In Harmony, and that's it. If you didn't happen to catch Citizen Cain live (they headlined a few shows themselves but were more known as a support act for the likes of Pendragon, the Enid, and fellow late bloomers Final Conflict), the Fire In Harmony album would likely be your only exposure to them in the 1980s, in the form of the track Unspoken Words nestled along songs from the likes of Pendragon, Quasar, Solstice and Haze.

However, that is not the end of the story for Citizen Cain Mark 1: alongside Unspoken Words, they did manage to record a few other tracks during their run, and once the second incarnation of Citizen Cain began to pick up steam Italian label Mellow decided to put out this archival collection - providing the band with a handy stopgap release between Somewhere But Yesterday and Raising the Stones.

This is important context to take into account when listening to this album, because the sound of Citizen Cain in the 1980s is a little bit different from that of the current incarnation of the band, and because the production values on this collection reflect these songs' origins as demos. Don't get me wrong - these are some comparatively nice- sounding demos and the songs are perfectly audible, they just don't quite have the extra clarity and polish that a bit more professional time in a fully-equipped studio would have given them, and if you go in expecting professional- quality sound that might trip you up.

In terms of the musical style, the vocals from Cyrus are the most obvious stylistic link between this incarnation of the band and the one which followed, obviously enough. It's evident that Cyrus was always very, very invested in mimicing Genesis-era Peter Gabriel, and he does a pretty good job at that. Where things go a little sideways here is that this isn't always as appropriate to the musical backing as it could be. In particular, the band's musical style seems to lurch giddily about the place, sometimes going for an update of pastoral Genesis, sometimes engaging in something replete with tricky rhythms reminiscent of the more avant new wave groups of the era.

It feels, in fact, like Citizen Cain's 1980s output is the product of a tension between a desire to go full retro-prog on the one hand and an attempt to sound more modern on the other which was never really resolved during that lineup's existence. At its best, this tension means that the songs are full of twists and turns and surprises, with both the sides of their sound teasing out the best in each other; at its worst, it makes the compositions sound like a disconnected mess of parts, with each part intended to appease one band member or another by focusing on the musical style they favoured.

As such, whilst it's a pretty interesting body of work, I feel like the dissolution of Citizen Cain Mark 1 was a foregone conclusion; if a band isn't willing to bite the bullet and actually settle on a musical direction, it can't last long with such tensions unsettled. Ghost Dance is an intriguing release which would probably be best enjoyed either by existing fans of Citizen Cain who are curious about the band's origins, or by folk who are keen on the 1980s neo- prog scene who want a taste of what Citizen Cain were offering up during that era.

Latest members reviews

2 stars No doubt that this album is for fans and collectors only. Individually without the background of the other C.Cain albums this is a bad album. But in the scope of all C.Cain history and if you have heard their others albums this is a 2,5 to 3 stars album,because at least is this one is the struc ... (read more)

Report this review (#190540) | Posted by robbob | Wednesday, November 26, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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