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Crimson Sky - 'Dawn' (selF Released) 4/5

Its been three years since Bristol prog rockers Crimson Sky hit us with their impressive debut album Misunderstood, and since then there have been a few line up changes, mainly the replacement of vocalist Holly Thody with new girl Jane Setter, the arrival of new keysman Moray Macdonald. But after a very quiet couple of years they are back with this new four track ep.

Over all this is pretty good, there are two brand new tracks on offer. Crimson Sky is a neat little cut that sounds like Seasons End era Marillion jamming with cult NWOBHM act Runestaff - all Mark Kelly style keyboard widdles under pinned with some nice tasty faux-metal riffage. Then you have The Park, this ones stand out track, a number that kicks off with an almost MC5 proto-punk groove before switching into a feel and vibe that smacks of classic Pendragon with a hint of Stray thrown in for good measure. Pretty good stuff. Vocalist Setter may not have the 'rawk chick' snarl that made her predecessor so distinctive, but her almost ethereal alto tones and impressive range more than do the business. And it must be said that the keyboard of Mr Macdonald really do raise the standard of musicianship in the band by several clicks, and that is not a reflection on the rest of Crimson Sky, all of whom are pretty competent players in their own right.

The other two cuts are re-recorded versions of numbers from the Misunderstood album. The first, The Sea, is a pretty good rendition of an already impressive track, noteworthy for Mr Leamons tasty Steve Rothery / Andy Latimer style lead guitar work. However the new version of After The Rain provides a pretty downbeat ending to the ep, as compared to the rest of the tracks on show it comes over more than a little limp, as its Fleetwood Mac meets Mostly Autumn acoustic stylings and trip away with the fairies vibe come over as a very light weight and finish the ep with a whimper rather than the bang this releases deserves, (and to be honest isn't as good as the Misunderstood version.)

However don't let that put you off as the rest of this one is well worth a listen, and if Crimson Sky continue to follow the road laid down on tracks like The Park there could well be a brighter dawn ahead for them.

Worth a look or three

For fans of... Marillion, Runestaff, Pallas, Pendragon, Delusion Squared, Porcupine Tree etc....