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Corvus Stone - Corvus Stone Unscrewed CD (album) cover

CORVUS STONE UNSCREWED

Corvus Stone

 

Crossover Prog

3.95 | 202 ratings

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Henri Vaugrand
4 stars (Review originally published in french on Clair & Obscur webzine)

I must ashamedly confess that Corvus Stone had escaped my progressive radars' Until one evening, while listening to the broadcast of my friend Lucas Biela on ISKC Rock Radio, I discover an instrumental UFO, 'Brand New Day', so joyful and fresh that it could make you regret a summer heatwave! Without thinking it twice, I enquire, get in touch with Colin Tench, we chat around, and I end up with the 13 tracks that form this 'Unscrewed'. Corvus Stone (CS) is a curious beast, in that it saw the light thanks to the social networks, a trend that is observed with many of their contemporaries. Musicians contact each other, share drafts of songs and team up with one another when the spark flashes. As a result, the main CS brains (the four musicians joined by the graphic designer Sonia Mota) went to deliver two albums since 2012 (1 and 2, to make it simple). They then remixed some of their earlier material in-between creating new stuff to finally bring together those pieces and issue a third effort, which was not intended at first.

'Unscrewed' is a merry melting-pot which makes you jump from one subject to another, without ever jumping out of the frying pan into the fire! Given that it was self-produced, the album may suffer from slight flaws. Yet, in all honesty, the cheerful gentlemen of Corvus Stone will agree with me: we don't give a damn! What matters here is the fresh air the compositions breath, the ideas behind the remixes, the delight that the musicians share in playing this material, the ideas that rush in your head without making it a mess, a few winks to some heroes of the 70's...but also way more. In fact, there is nothing conceptual about this record, the transitions between the tracks are even sometimes quite surprising. 'Unscrewed' is a bit like the front window of a renowned pastry: one wants to come in and taste everything, but as the mind forces to stay reasonable, one will limit to one cake only'before returning the day after!

Also, I will not go through the complete and long storyline of this candy (already too many broadcasts and online shops dedicated to food on TV, don't you think?), all the more that you can read anything about the genesis of this album on the bandcamp page of the band. Instead, I strongly invite you to follow the musical endeavours of those merry chaps, which cheerfulness never ceases to ooze from an album, where technical control makes no doubt (a special mention to the blazing guitar play of Colin Tench), and where compositions are rich and humorous in turn, yet without pointless developments or showing-off.

Besides "Brand New Day", a real gem, other tracks that stand out include "Early Morning Calls" (for the way it builds and its amazing vocal layers - ah this flight with 'I see it in your eyes'', it could easily top 10 CC), "Horizon (remix)" (brilliant and humorous, with the fat Petri bassline), "Landfill" (funny and off-the-wall with its flashy percussions and its Oldfield-like guitar), the jazz/fusion-like "Scary Movie Too", "Lost and Found Revisited" (somewhere between Blackmore's Night and Crosby, Stills and Nash) and "Cinema Finale" (for Colin's crispy guitar).

Take also a look at the promotional teaser of the album illustrated by Sonia Mota on YouTube and you will have a full picture of the bright yet crafted humour of Corvus Stone. In times when so many musicians and bands take themselves so seriously (too much for some of them, when compared to the quality of their productions), Corvus Stone take us back to the very roots of progressive music: a blend of well balanced influences (rock, jazz, classical, traditional'), of musical darings and of a humour that could get along with the movies of Tim Burton, the Marx Brothers or Monty Python'

For all these reasons, 'Unscrewed' is a breath of fresh air in a lush and sometimes suffocating musical landscape, which will certainly prompt you to dig the remainder of Corvustonian discography if not done yet. Enjoy...with a smile on your face!

Henri Vaugrand | 4/5 |

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