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Grey Lady Down - The Crime

Artist: Grey Lady Down
Title: The Crime
Label: Cyclops CYCL-001
Length(s): 53 minutes
Year(s) of release: 1994
Month of review: 03/1994

Line up

Mark Robotham - drums
Louis David - keyboards
Julian Hunt - guitar
Sean Speare - bass
Martin Wilson - vocals

Tracks

1) 12:02 5.05
2) All Join Hands 4.23
3) Thrill Of It All 6.36
4) The Ballad Of Billy Grey (the Crime Part One) 11.28
5) Circus Of Thieves 7.03
6) Annabel 6.09
7) The Fugitive (the Crime Part Two) 12.12

Summary

Again recorded in the Thin Ice studios of Nolan and Groom, another UK band has entered the stage.

The music

Grey Lady Dpwm (formerly known as Shadowland; no, no, not Clive Nolan's band) has a very basic line-up and plays a kind of neo-prog very reminiscent of Pallas. The vocalist also sounds a bit like the former Pallas vocalist Lawson. This means that the music usually isn't very complicated though very melodic and at times up-tempo. The bio said that Crime was unashamedly a rock band, but don't let that put you off, because they do manage to pull of some good things. 12:02 is a bit of a rocker, All join hands has a very Twelfth Nightish intro and the whole song seems to breathe something of that 12th night atmosphere. The thrill of it all is a ballad like Pallas could have made.

For the ones among that do not like bad production and other technicalities that might get in the way: the music is well played, though not overly complex, the production is balanced and the vocals are clear and good. It's neo-prog again and reminds me mostly of Pallas, probably because of the vocals (though he doesn't sing as high as Reed). It has some stuff reminding of Twelfth Night too (All Join Hands).

12:02 starts out up-tempo and is mainly a rock-song with some keyboards on the back (coming to the front every now and then) and has Pallas influences and maybe some Pendragon too. It's a jolly song. A party-stomper it is then. The composition is good though (otherwise I would have noticed that it lasts 5 minutes).

The next song starts out as early Twelfth Night. It's fairly up- tempo but it's not a rocker really, it's a bit menacing and it's quite a good song.

The third song starts out like a ballad with acoustic guitar and soft singing. After two minutes the keys start to take over and after a while the singer continues this in mid-tempo. The song reminds me a lot of Pallas.

The fourth song is the first epic The Ballad Of Billy Grey. The song starts out as a test record for stereo (bleep-bleep) and the occaisonal sample. The drums then start and the guitar making it sound a bit like Falling Apart At The Seams. This song has a fairly long intro (3 minutes) after which the singer sings his sad sad song. I must admit that this song is well built and has enough emotion and content to last the time it does. The style is still somewhat like Pallas but I think this band makes more of it. The song is almost desperate and this guy has got the right voice for it.

Circus of Thieves is more up-tempo and more joyous you might say (especially the keys), but it doesn't have the catch. the refrain isn't too good either (a bit like Nolans Shadowland) and I think this is one of the weaker songs on the album due to that. The composition sounds a bit forced.

Though the title Annabel migt make you think this is a ballad, it starts out quite differently. Still, after a while the song subsi- des a bit before the singer starts. The song is actually a sympho- nic rocker like the first song.

The second epic starts out a bit heavier than the first with a repetitional yet inaccessible melody. After over two minutes the song slows down and soft keys take over. The lyrics are kind of panicky and the music is actually quite soft, with your basic Banks keys on the back (say Undertow), probably to accentuate the loneli- ness of the fugitive. Still, this song has a lot going for it, especially the chilling desperation at the end of the song as the song approaches the ten minute mark. The bass is a bit out of balance in this song though (or is it my installation).

Conclusion

My conclusion is that this album contains enough well-played, enthousiatically brought, well-produced music that for change contains some emotion, mostly due to the singer who has a pleasant sort of sad (some might say whining) voice. I recommend this for neo-prog fans and if you have a chance to listen to it, try song 2, 4 and 7.
© Jurriaan Hage