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Rick Wakeman - Criminal Record CD (album) cover


Rick Wakeman


Symphonic Prog

3.79 | 293 ratings

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2 stars Criminal Record is an album that scrapes by from being a disaster by the virtue of a few excellent moments, and even these are, in my opinion, largely due to the contributions of a couple of Wakeman's fellow Yes men. The other major good aspect of the album is the refined and tasteful piano playing. There are even a few amazing organ bits. But when Wakeman reaches for one of the smaller keyboards in his arsenal, that is usually when things crumble. Sometimes Wakeman's choice of tone is utterly laughable, and one can really hear the downward transition from Going for the One to Tormato in not only his choice of tone, but in numerous silly-sounding passages sprinkled throughout the record. I just cannot imagine that people think that sort of thing sounds good (although I admittedly quite like Tormato, many of the keyboard parts on that album do bug me).

"Statue of Justice" Brisk piano opens the album. Flashy synthesizer introduces the best part of the piece- incredible organ work with the solid rhythm section of Chris Squire and Alan White- one could indeed be fooled into thinking this was a hidden Yes tune.

"Crime of Passion" While the opener was full of energy, the second piece tapers off into gentle simplicity, and is again based on piano. A horrible descending run throws the music into some outlandish dark symphonic funk with quite a few synthesizer tones I can't stand. Frankly, nearly everything after the two-minute mark is a headache.

"Chamber of Horrors" Ethereal piano and synthesizer are met with overpowering chords. The quirky, almost Caribbean middle section is just ludicrous. The ending features classic Squire bass riffs and solid drumming from White.

"Birdman of Alcatraz" This is a quiet piano piece formed on a soft blanket of synthesizers.

"The Breathalyzer" Wakeman returns to the eccentric and preposterous keyboard tones here. The strength of the piece lies only in the piano passages. If only to capitalize on the silliness, the last bit consists of a bluesy narrative.

"Judas Iscariot" Cathedral organ, an instrument Wakeman excels at, largely makes up the final and longest piece of music. The entrance of piano and synthesizer demonstrates maturity and excellence. Ironically, it initially sounds like it could be a dark twin to some of the slower-moving passages from Tales from Topographic Oceans. However, the doom overstays its welcome, and becomes closer to music from a 1970s B-horror film. The choir and piano midway through are beautiful, however. While the piece fortunately lacks the folly of some of the other tracks, the music is overdone, too long, and regrettably doesn't really go anywhere.

Epignosis | 2/5 |


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