Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography




From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5uu's Crisis in Clay album cover
3.72 | 56 ratings | 9 reviews | 29% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

Write a review

Buy 5UU'S Music
from partners
Studio Album, released in 1997

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Comeuppance (3:48)
2. Broadside Hits and Near Misses (2:21)
3. How-To's of Self Taught (3:40)
4. Bought the Farm (4:19)
5. Simply Agree (1:38)
6. Goliath in the Sights (4:18)
7. December (2:55)
8. Hunter Gatherer (3:30)
9. What Price Virtue? (3:19)
10. Darkened Door (4:54)
11. Encounter (3:26)
12. Willful Suspension of Disbelief (3:41)
13. Cirrus (3:38)
14. Weaponry (1:11)
15. Absolutely, Absolute (3:48)
16. Ringing in the New Ear (0:42)

Total Time 51:08

Line-up / Musicians

- Robert Drake / vocals, basses, guitars, violin, production & mixing
- Sanjay Kumar / keyboards, voice (4)
- David Kerman / drums, guitars, keyboards, composer

- Thomas DiMuzio / sounds & electronics (1,2,4,10)
- Scott Brazieal / vibes (4)

Releases information

Artwork: Maggie Thomas

CD ReR Megacorp ‎- RéR 5uu2 (1997, US)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
Edit this entry

Buy 5UU'S Crisis in Clay Music

5UU'S Crisis in Clay ratings distribution

(56 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(29%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(45%)
Good, but non-essential (18%)
Collectors/fans only (7%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

5UU'S Crisis in Clay reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by progmonster
5 stars Along with Anglagärd's "Epilog", "Crisis in Clay" stands for me as a major input in the progressive history. Well, the first has nothing to do with the second, but then again, the gap between the two shows how wide is the range of the progressive grammary. I'm not going to do an historical point of view of the band here ; let's just say that "Crisis in Clay" represents the second and final chapter of the second era wich showcases the talent of leader drummer Dave Kerman, with the addition of the underesteemated Sanjay Kumar and the incredible Bob Drake, maybe one of the strongest personality in progressive alternative music in these last fifteen years. What will follow has not (yet) reached the same potential level. Because the main quality of this album is to be at the same time profoundly complex and overtly fun to listen (at least if you suffer from schizophrenia).

Those three guys came up with something totally unique and strange. Strange because, in many points in the album, there is strong echoes to the work of Yes. First, the way Drake sings is very disturbing and so close to Anderson's while being completely out of this world. Secondly, he assumes both guitar and bass playing, and in the course of the album, you will encounter numerous key moment where you'll be swearing to hear Steve Howe or Chris Squire (the monstruous bass line of "Willful Suspension of Disbelief"). Take "Bought the Farm" for instance. This one represents a great summary of all you're going to hear on this near an hour album ; counterpoints, complex and ever changing rhythm pattern, harmonically sophisticated melody, heavy atmosphere leaded by percussive elements and ghostly guitar part, not unlike Yes' "The Ancient", and most of all, great inventivity, what lacks the most in the progressive genre nowadays. This late surely must be credited to Bob Drake, once again, whose raw production is absolutely flawless, and plays with every sound elements to put the music upfront.

To conclude here, well, the better thing i might say about this outstanding album to tickle your curiosity is maybe that 5 UU'S achieved the masterpiece Yes could have done if Anderson, Squire and co. were all retired in a madhouse after digesting too much LSD.

Review by avestin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Like others in this genre (namely Miriodor and Ensemble Nimbus for instance) they opt for the shorter, song oriented compositions. They are, however, entirely different from those aforementioned bands. The music style resembles that of Henry Cow before them and that of Thinking Plague after them (In Extremis). I agree with fellow reviewers about Yes (Relayer), being an influence here, it serves as a good point of reference (go over progmonster's and The Mentalist's reviews for more details).

Their sound is to me is filled with a somber and obscure atmosphere. It gives me the impression of being in a cold dark room attacked by this odd intricate musical sounds with weird time signatures that alternate rapidly with a generous amount of dissonance. The sound of the keyboards gives the songs a devilish sound as if possessed and Bob Drake's vocals are flat in that they don't go up and down, but simply sing the lyrics in a rather high note (not unlike Jon Anderson's voice as was noted by other reviewers) but without going too far from this standpoint. Other than being dark, it is intense. Very intense. You are not being given a moment to calm down during the whole album. It keeps coming at you with raw power and energy that at times can be tiring, but overall is what creates this unique experience which is the music of the 5UU's.

For the uninitiated, it may appear at first as a blur, a mess of sounds that have not yet decided where to head and with what scale to align. But this will all come clear in a matter of a few listens. However, this album needs your attention as a listener. This is not background music. This is, as many progressive albums, an album to experience and be attentive to, for if you wonder off, you will miss its very essence and what makes it so good and powerful and it will probably sound like a blur of sounds. It is less than an hour long, so this should be feasible. But due to the nature of the music, it will seem longer than that, and this is not because it is bad, but because of all the traits I have mentioned in the beginning.

In this album (and others by them) you can be sure you will hear well all of the instruments and thus enjoy their performance. All performers here are doing a brilliant job (as can be expected).

Now, while I love this album and enjoy it (as I do with Hunger's Teeth), I can't state that it is a masterpiece, but it does fall under essential listening for me. For a RIO fan, I think it would certainly be essential listening and they would probably enjoy this very much. For others, I suggest to approach with caution, but with open mind and willingness to venture into another form of music, which you may not be accustomed to.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars I asked Dave Kerman what band or album contained his best performances and he said the 5UU'S. Considering the number of bands and projects he's been involved with I knew I had to check this band out. I would describe this record as dark, moody, atmospheric and complex,with electronic noises throughout. The songs are relatively short with the longest being just under 5 minutes.The vocals are a cross between Jon Anderson and Perry Farrell, and the drumming and bass playing are especially good.The dynamic duo of Kerman and Drake ! This album is hard to digest and is very much an Avant / Rio album.

Some of the highlights for me are "The How-To's Of Self Taught" a song that features keys, deep bass and drums. This is dark and heavy with piano melodies. "Hunter-Gatherer" opens with an angular guitar melody and features some great bass and drums.

"Darkened Doors" opens with piano and percussion that changes to synths and gentle vocals, and then back again.The song becomes dark and suffocating. "The Encounter" sounds amazing to start out, very dark. "Cirrus" opens with acoustic guitar and synths with keyboards and vocals to follow. This is haunting at first. There is some complex instrumentation as usual. "Weaponry" is a fast and furious one minute song. "Absolutely, Absolute" features a good melody with great vocals.

Not the best place to start for someone new to this genre. Heck this is as complex and out there as you can get.

Review by Sean Trane
1 stars After the U Totem adventure, 5UU's reconvened under the form of a trio for this extreme and extremely bizarre album. The group now consisting of Kerman, producer Bob Drake and Sanjay Kumar and they have only one guest in the form of DiMuzio's computer twiddlings, giving the album an industrial edge, but not in a Dom Caballero-style.

The least we can say is that this phase of 5UU's is rather completely different than the pre-U Totem 5UU's. Where the group's first period was rather warm and enticing, CIC is an obtuse piece of obnoxiousness, looking for musical difficulty for its sake and that alone. Indeed, there is a search for going intentionally over the top , much the way Yes had tried with the obtusely hermetic Tales and the obvious over-virtuosity of Relayer. But Yes had managed to remain listenable and was not really cringing, which is certainly not the case with 5UU's CIC where the there are no guiding threads and the industrial rock passage appear out of nowhere to disappear just as unexplainably. In some ways this album is close to the completely aggression of Guapo's early releases and can also be reminiscent of noise rock groups with a pretension for math rock groups. There is a dimension in the music where it seems that the audible Hertzian spectrum is a bit too limited for this claustrophobic music, one that can be heard in Yes' Delirium or some GG tracks on Freehand and TP&TG album. Although the entirety of tracks are penned by Kerman (bar one collab), one can feel that Drake has whisked the controls wheel away from Dave, beit in total awareness or not.

I have no idea what overtook Dave Kerman for this album, but I wish he hadn't called this 5UU's, because it doesn't fit the group's earlier music, but to be truthful, this album has kept me from listening to more recent releases. Personally this album is simply too much for this listener(s nerves, ears, patience, adventurous spirit and everything else... Best avoided if you ask me..

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This album is the successor of the colorful, dynamic "Hunger's Teeth": "Crisis in Clay" shows as a 5uu's alive, kicking and more determined than ever to pursue the preservation of the heritage from Henry Cow and Art Bears with tons of muscle and poise. The band's sound bears a major dose of consistence than on the previous effort, which in no small degree is due to the augmented presence of guitars in the instrumentation. That you can suspect from square one, and this suspicion is sometimes confirmed as the listening experience goes on. There are some rough passages in which 5uu's reminds us less of the British classic RIO and more of good old Faust. And of course, we shouldn't overlook the confluence with Thinking Plague. The record opens up with 'Corneuppance', a disjointed play of drums and guitar with abundant dissonances and voids. 'Broadside Hits and Near Misses', with its surrealistic hermetism, states a ceremonious passage of autumnal moods before the more articulated 'How-To's of Self Taught'. 'Bought the Farm' is a clever mixture of Zapaesque humor and "Western Culture"-era HC. The paranoid industrial display of 'Simply Agree' and the bipolar robustness of 'Goliath in the Sights' introduce us to some of the most complex twists in the album, although this should not come as a surprise. With the pairing of 'December' and 'Hunger Gatherer' we have a challenging (the whole album is challenging.) alternation of industrially driven atmospheres and the architectonic aspect of chamber-rock. 'What Price Virtue?' leads us to a reincorporation of the moods of tracks 1 and 6. 'Darkened Door' is perhaps the most epic piece in the album, stating a bizarre majesty than ultimately leads to a chaotic coda, very much in tune with the track's relentless dynamics. 'Willful Suspension of Disbelief' and 'Cirrus' offer gradually more relaxing moods among the whole series of experimental ideas that had taken place so far, before 'Weaponry' brings back the tense frenzy. I feel the power of 'Weaponry' as an anticipation of the intricate colorfulness of 'Absolutely, Absolute', yet another exercise on epic RIO. The epilogue 'Ringing in the New Ear' consists of the sounds of someone's footsteps heading for a door to get out of the room - a literal epilogue, indeed. In perspective, this album is less kaleidoscopic than some other 5uu's albums, but it sure provides a tight, powerful approach to the unrelenting experimental cerebral rock that Kerman and co. state as a musical stance and a perspective about the world. "Crisis in Clay" is the manifestation of an uncompromising commitment to art and reality.

Latest members reviews

3 stars On the whole, "Crisis in Clay" isn't significantly different from "Hunger's Teeth" (my only other reference point to the music of this group). The adventurous spirit of the group is still very much intact, although, strangely, the album is again quite repetitive, perhaps even more s ... (read more)

Report this review (#73503) | Posted by Pafnutij | Thursday, March 30, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is absolutely one of the most amazing albums to which I've ever listened. The music is extremely complex, dense, layered, and sophisticated. Extremely odd time signatures and meters abound. Each piece of music is relatively short -- each only a few minutes long -- but that has absolutely no ... (read more)

Report this review (#3941) | Posted by | Saturday, February 19, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I consider this essential prog. I've really never heard anything like it, but the irresistable comparisons to "Relayer" or Henry Cow are instructive; without a doubt the music is informed by the old masters. Then there is the undeniable fact that Bob Drake sounds disturbingly like Jon Anders ... (read more)

Report this review (#3940) | Posted by | Monday, November 29, 2004 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Where to begin... 5uu's is the brainchild of drummer / instrumentalist / composer, Dave Kerman (surely one of the most underrated drummers around). The other major contributor to this album is the amazing Mr Bob Drake (instrumentalist, singer, compose, producer and engineer of the highest calibr ... (read more)

Report this review (#3939) | Posted by The Mentalist | Monday, October 18, 2004 | Review Permanlink

Post a review of 5UU'S "Crisis in Clay"

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.