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Citizen Cain - Raising The Stones CD (album) cover

RAISING THE STONES

Citizen Cain

 

Symphonic Prog

3.19 | 80 ratings

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Warthur
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Catastrophic lineup troubles plagued Citizen Cain after the release of Somewhere But Yesterday, with the result that the recording a followup proved a more difficult process than expected. In the intervening time, Mellow Records in Italy put out Ghost Dance, a compilation of recordings from the 1980s trio incarnation of the band - "Citizen Cain Mark I", if you will - but Raising the Stones, as the third album by "Citizen Cain Mk II", is the true successor to Serpents In Camouflage and Somewhere But Yesterday.

With the band reduced to the duo of stalwart keyboardist Stewart Bell (who also provides drums - I suspect via drum machine) and vocalist Cyrus, with Andy Heatie guesting on guitar on the first track only, an attempt to reproduce the sound of Somewhere But Yesterday would have been folly under the circumstances. Instead, the band turn necessity into the mother of invention and evolve their sound - taking things away from the symphonic Genesis-mimicing style of the preceding release to instead delve into darker neo-prog territory, with a punchy, powerful approach that is a bit more aggressive and confrontational than classic Genesis.

It's a sinister, claustrophobic sound, and there's an air of terror and fury in Cyrus' vocals which help this, though at the same time the sonic evolution also underscores what I keep harping on about in these reviews - which is that, unfortunately, Cyrus' vocals are still a significant sticking point in the band's sound. If anything, Cyrus' unimaginative mimicing of Gabriel-era Genesis (or rather, one particular mode which Gabriel brought to bear in Genesis, since Gabriel was a much more versatile vocalist even then than Cyrus shows himself to be) is even more incongruous now that the musical backing has moved away from rote Genesis worship.

With more original ideas combined with the improved handle on composition that the band showed on Somewhere But Yesterday, this release overcomes the difficult circumstances of its recording and an occasionally cheap-sounding keyboard sound - but I feel like Citizen Cain's music would be improved markedly were Cyrus to evolve his vocal approach as much as Bell evolves the music here.

Warthur | 4/5 |

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