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David Cross

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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David Cross Closer Than Skin album cover
4.06 | 36 ratings | 5 reviews | 44% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2005

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Are We One? (5:47)
2. States of Deception (5:40)
3. Over Your Shoulder (6:44)
4. Only Fooling (8:19)
5. Awful Love (4:43)
6. Counting (5:23)
7. I Buy Silence (5:51)
8. Valley of the Kings (6:04)
9. Tell Me Your Name (4:43)
10. Anybody (6:19)

Total time: 59:34

Line-up / Musicians

- David Cross / electric violins, keyboards

- Arch Stanton / vocals
- Paul Clark / guitar
- Mick Paul / bass
- Lloyd / drums

Releases information

Artwork: Chiemi Cross

CD Noisy Records ‎- NOISY 003 (2005, UK)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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DAVID CROSS Closer Than Skin ratings distribution

(36 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(44%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(36%)
Good, but non-essential (14%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

DAVID CROSS Closer Than Skin reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Dick Heath
4 stars

I have to confirm Krimson biographer, Sid Smith's comments in the 'Closer Than Skin's' press release, that this is probably the best album released by a former member of the 'Larks Tongue In Aspic' perod of King Crimson. However, in no way does 'Closer Than Skin' dwell in the '72 to '74 period of Krimson, in fact it is album of modern rock and prog rock, the best I've heard for severla years - and in passing don't take the fusion tag that Progarchives use for Cross's music too seriously.

This record takes references from a much broad range than simply the Krimson of 30 years ago, indeed a lot of the new, and melds them into tunes which sound very 21st Century and better still: exciting. The KC references provide that contact to 72-74 , with the enimatic lyrics by Richard Palmer James, or one very brief but pungent instrumental sample about 3 and half minutes into Awful Love (track 5), here you'll find a classic Fripp guitar riff (from 'Lark's Tongues' itself), employed to provide both a dramtic break and a counter-rhythm to the middle eastern feel in the song. At the end of listening to 'Closer Than Skin', I left with the thrill that I'm hearing a modern album loosely in the style of the mid 70's King Crimson but significantly affected by 30 years of experience and change in David Cross, tempered by the young musicians who has around him.

The band David Cross has gathered is very good. Mick Paul with an excellent no thrills electric bass, Paul Clark on rock guitar (who Cross told me is always being pushed into new territories slightly beyond the fringes of rock and excelling in them - and he is into Dream Theater), Arch Stauton (who has a warm mellow voice - there are moments when he reminds me of the vocals on the High Tide album - and again Cross has let on that Stauton was auditioned singing the song heard on track 6), and Lloyd with some great drums.

And compared with two other David Cross albums in my collection (i.e. 'Exiles', 'Testing To Destruction'), this is a far more satisfactory and consistently good album. A must for Krimson fans. As I'm reluctant to commit to 5 stars at this early stage in the album life - e.g. will it survive time and me! I have no hesitation for going for Progarchives' 4 stars.

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Errors and Omissions Team
4 stars Nice cover, innovative (I have to say). This is review on (let's call it) request, or at least suggestion. I have this album for some time, so I'm able to write this. But I wasn't about to do it anytime soon. Nevermind, let's begin with reviewing.

This is music that is not jazz at all, I never heard any his previous album (except his work with Crimson guys of course), so I can't compare. But one thing I know for sure, this album can be enjoyed by many. Yes, this is not one of these "only-for-elite", or these where you have to "suffer thirteen repeated listens to begin enjoying it", nope. This is good album that has a lot to offer and is offering it straight from first listen. Are We One, just slight hint, reminds me deserts, Arabian songs. Second one, States of Deception brings on little bit of promised jazz in "intro", but then it's more like something that's not so easy to describe. Because of violin, it makes everything brand new and original. One have to wonder how it's possible (it's just violin, isn't it ?), but hell, here we are and it sounds good (note that I'm not stick with second song anymore, more like talking about this album in general).

4(+), there are of course disadvantages. Guitar solos are here, yeah. But riffs sounds pretty much the same and it beats it a little bit. It's pleasant to listen (dark music a little bit, not so optimistic though except Awful Love of course), it satisfies you, but this is not so big fault that would prevent me from giving masterpiece rating. There are others of course, but in overall, it's very good album. And yes, this interesting violin can sounds disharmonic at times (mostly in climax parts).Of course, it's dominated by violin and as violin experimentation album it's masterpiece, but other instruments here sounds like just accompanying their leader, string instrument. Which is great though. So let's take this as it is and overlook this.

And I wondered why everyone so far gave 4 stars. But anyway, I'll do the same, because this feeling of repeated background is somehow fault for close listening (thorough, thinking about music you're listening, evaluating, you know).

So to answer the unspoken question, "What's closer than skin ?" It's music of course, so penetrating that it can get under your skin. Both in good and bad way of this word. In case of this album, we're talking about very good way. Almost masterpiece.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
4 stars More than close

Despite the fact that both Robert Fripp and John Wetton (as well as Peter Hammill of Van Der Graaf Generator) contributed as guests to his previous record Exiles, Closer Than Skin is the David Cross solo album that comes closest to the sound of King Crimson of which Cross was a member between 1972 and 1974. The band that Cross assembled around himself here is really strong and they are a very solid unit as also evidenced by the very good live album Alive In The Underworld recorded shorty afterwards. The material presented here is also strong and I would say that not only is this Cross' best studio album as a solo artist but it is also better than anything released by King Crimson since the 1970's! However, the aforementioned live album is the optimal place to start with David Cross as that album gives a better overview of his whole career featuring several King Crimson songs as well as songs from most of his solo albums including two from the present album.

Being Cross' main instrument, the violin is of course omnipresent in this music but he leaves equal space to the other members. Guitars, vocals, bass and drums are excellently played and important elements. There is however less keyboards than on previous records. This music rocks rather hard and occasionally approaches Metal territory. In those moments where the music takes on a Middle Eastern flavour the band Orphaned Land comes to mind! Also Fates Warning can be a relevant comparison at some points.

When I first started listening to this album I thought that many of the songs sounded similar to each other, but on many further listens they started to distinguish themselves more and the album as a whole kept growing on me. Closer Than Skin is a very good album! If I should complain about something is has to be the fairly dull cover picture.

Highly recommended in addition to Alive In The Underworld

Latest members reviews

4 stars A very impressive album. Krimson refernces and indeed influences abound, but that's no bad thing. Interestingly, the album evokes a cross between the pummelling power of Starless/Red period Crimson with the more 'arty' compostions of the Belew-period line-up...and a fascinating mix it is! Great ... (read more)

Report this review (#159007) | Posted by barp | Saturday, January 19, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Excellent alnum. After having read very comprehensive review of it by Dick Heath, I cannot do much else but to agree with almost everything he is saying, except one small thing - I do not think this is the best work of David Cross. IMO "Exiles" and "Testing to destruction" are slightly better, ... (read more)

Report this review (#39665) | Posted by eugene | Sunday, July 17, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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