By The Roads And The Fields CD

Bristol eccentrics Crescent can hardly be accused of jumping on anyone's bandwagon. They are clearly one of those bands that do not care much about rigid formulae and closed structures. This is best exemplified by their latest release, a collection of slightly depressing and introvert tunes, probably summing up the band members' emotional state when recording the album.

It's in the late 1980ies and early 1990ies when a bunch of Bristol musicians bored by Rock music's mannerisms set out to look for new ways of musical expression, thus creating the diverse and vivid music scene that Bristol is famous for. Crescent emerged from this musical breeding ground almost ten years ago, and their current album "By The Roads And The Fields" is their fourth release to date.

It must be said that Crescent really have developed a distinctive mixture of various musical influences. You'll find numerous references to Psychedelic and Progressive music, Art- and Krautrock of the 1960ies, spiced with a pinch of Jazz here and there, but without ever becoming anything near "arty" or "retro".

The songs on "By The Roads And The Fields" are very tranquil and clear-structured, most of them are built on simple rhythms and a few notes played on the bass, the harmonica, or the acoustic guitar. Sometimes a gentle old-fashioned Hammond organ melody comes in (as in the opening title "Spring") or a pretty dissonant saxophone arrangement ("Fountains"). Add to that singer Matt Jones' introvert and existentialist lyrics about September mornings, trains leaving for the Sea or debris washed ashore.

The track titles suggest a strong fascination for Mother Nature: "Spring", "New Leaves", "Mimosa". Indeed, despite all the sadness and loneliness that shines through the songs, there is always an element of warmth and an almost rural quality to Crescent's music, rather than urban coldness and misery. Maybe Crescent are modern day hippies, but more likely theirs is a certain favour for nostalgia and timelessness.

"By The Roads And The Fields" is said to have been recorded in different locations on an 8 track tape machine, with virtually no budget. However, the result is by no means a sloppy affair. Witness a multi-layered production with a lot of care for the detail. Well done.

(rh 06/MMIII)

Label: Fat Cat Records
>> Fat Cat Records Website

Crescent - the renaissance of tranquillity