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Friday, 28 February 2014

Crippled Black Phoenix : White Light Generator review


You wait years for a new Pink Floyd album to arrive and then... nothing comes all at once.

Thank God, then, for Crippled Black Phoenix, whose new album White Light Generator is shot through with Floydian flourishes.

Drifty intros? Check

Whispering voices? Check

Gilmourian guitar? Check

Wright-on keyboards? Check

Light and shade? Check

Bursts of aggression? Check

Following their Poznan live double, CBP return with a studio set divided into a black side (rocky) and white side (not so rocky).

But it’s not as black and white as that.

Because after faux intro Sweeter Than You (Seamus, anyone?) the lengthy two-part No! sounds like a Floyd out-take.

No, scrub that. It sounds like Floyd at their best, certainly better than the band’s latter years output.

But then standout Let’s Have An Apocalypse Now is more Sabbath than sonics, and Black Light Generator nods to Hawkwind.

And Parasites is a song Primal Scream would holler for.

There’s an untitled spoken word bridge, then Northern Comfort springs a surprise.

Opening like a leaden old school rock and roll driving song, it takes a turn to the East, picking up exotic scales and key changes.

Wake Me Me When It’s Time To Sleep is back to Pink Floyd.

Caring Breeds Horror and You’ll Be Murdered continue in similar vein before the gentle We Remember You gradually builds musical muscle.

But it’s left to A Brighter Tomorrow to up the ante again, and again it’ll delight frustrated Floyd fans with its neo-Western synth-horns.

Says frontman Justin Greaves: “I wanted to make an album that’s more simple, just good songs which are more about feeling than musical prowess, and with less meddling and manipulation in the production.

“I think it came out well as a result. If you like older, more warm and mushy, less sparkly clean sounds, then maybe you’ll like this.”

Interesting. Could have said the same about Meddle back in the day.

What’s most surprising is that CBP are mostly Brits, a sort of prog-rock co-operative whose members shift and change.

Catch them live on UK tour in May. Here are the dates:

May 23: O2 Islington Academy, London

May 24: Academy 3, Manchester

May 25: Liquid Rooms, Edinburgh

May 27: Robin 2, Bilston, Wolverhampton

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