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Craft - Craft CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.35 | 28 ratings

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kev rowland
Special Collaborator
Honorary Reviewer
4 stars Back in 1994 I was fortunate enough to come across a reissue of an album from 10 years earlier, and according to my review at the time I said it was very enjoyable (and I was right). Fast forward to 2022 and I was somewhat surprised to see it had been reissued again, here in an extended and definitive edition, but also very pleased as it gave me the excuse to really listen to it again properly. Craft are one of those bands who released an album then promptly disappeared, although some of those involved are still in the music industry. To understand their musical influences, style and where they came from, there is no need to look any further than the mighty The Enid, who had seen some significant success in the Seventies and were back then releasing a host of important albums. However, William Gilmour (keyboards) and Martin Russell (bass, keyboards) had both become disenchanted and left, soon to form Craft with drummer Grant McKay Gilmour. There was no guitarist, as instead Martin put his bass through a custom pedalboard to create the sounds he wanted, and of course there was no singer as this was an instrumental band who were moving in the direction they had wanted The Enid to take.

The original eight songs have now been extended to 14, some of which did appear on the earlier reissue plus some which are new, giving us a total playing time of nearly eighty minutes. In many ways it is surprising they did not bring in a guitarist, as that sound is a very important aspect of the album, and in many ways reminds me of what The Enid themselves were doing when I saw them in 1992 with ex-Tygers of Pan Tang guitarist Neil Shepherd. However, Martin provides plenty of crunch to offset the multi-layered keyboards and playing it again I am still surprised this has not made more of an impact on progheads as this really is a delight from beginning to end with classical prog keyboards in abundance. While fans of The Enid may initially flock to this due to who is involved they will keep playing it just because it is so damn good, and in many ways shows what could have happened if they had stayed with The Enid. Why there was ever only one album I do not know, as this is a band who should have achieved so much more, but of course this was in a time when prog was being hammered by all aspects of the media so perhaps it is not surprising.

Martin Russell went on to form Afro Celt Sound System, while Grant Gilmour was in Pride of Passion, and I just hope progheads discover the album this time around as it is polished, and very different indeed to most of the prog these days. A real gem.

kev rowland | 4/5 |


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