Remember those Mellotron-drenched songs of the first few Genesis prog albums? The dark production with interesting keyboard choices and booming drums? Citizen Cain recalls this from the start on the absolutely lovely thirteen-minute “(Hells Greedy Children) Last Days of Cain.” The entire album is full of wonderful multi-part epics with changing time signatures and instrumentation.
The fast playing in unison of the piano, guitar and bass on “Bad Karma (Monsters And Men)” becomes a trademark for Citizen Cain separating them not only from their inspiration, but their contemporaries. They use this very clever trick often, with different modal structures that often give an esoteric Arabic vibe. After a long instrumental introduction, the song breaks into Cyrus’ vocal and begins ever so fragile with just piano and cello (or is that ace keyboardist Stewart Bell emulating cello?). Of course, it builds to an incredible climax as many of the best of Citizen Cain’s songs do.
I felt that “Corcya” was over too soon and probably the most straight-forward progressive rock song on the album. The single perhaps? Ha ha. Paradoxically, “Dreaming Makes the World” really drives that aforementioned Arabian modal composition as it also recalls some of the better Rock In Opposition bands with constant stop and starts, piano runs followed very closely by the bass guitar. The last few minutes beautifully slows the pace and Cyrus does one of his better “Supper’s Ready” era Gabriel impressions. Closing epic “Silently Seeking Euridice” sounds particularly Banks-like in many parts (especially the “Fixing Broken Hearts” section), but still maintains that certain something that make Citizen Cain unique.
The orchestration and arrangements on this recording are superb. Much of the Genesis inspiration from Nursery Cryme and Foxtrot are still here. I hear an echo of Fish-era Marillion here, or Trick of the Tail’s more powerful drum-centric pieces, maybe even some of that party-fusion thing that Yes so often does on their extended pieces. Where Citizen Cain separate themselves from the pack is with the RIO and Arabic influences I believe may not even be intended. It is just the way modal and chord choices are made and the way that the band will break into an instrumental section where fast riffs are played in unison by several instruments at once.
Reviewed by Terry Jackson on September 22nd, 2012