Customer Review

26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The artists formerly known as Japan..., 17 May 2006
This review is from: Rain Tree Crow (Audio CD)
Rain Tree Crow is a succesful blend of more experimental work and songwriting- a work produced from improvised sessions from a band that used to be called Japan (if you're expecting Visions of China...er, don't!)When it was released I was a little cynical about it- why rename Japan? why the ambient noodling? & why title songs things like A Reassuringly Dull Sunday? It didn't seem very instant as an album either- more Plight&Premonition than Secrets of the Beehive...But the passage of time and frequent listening has made me come to adore this album, not unlike another avant-garde inflected album of 1991, Talk Talk's Laughing Stock.
This new edition comes with more lovely artwork, an improved sound & a bonus track in the form of Blackwater b-side I Drink to Forget (a bit of a non-event, think Thoroughly Lost to Logic)Big Wheels in Shanty Town feels like the kind of avant garde jam Radiohead tried to achieve on Amnesiac; it also has a feel not unlike artists like David Byrne & Peter Gabriel (Passion, Catherine Wheel) Every Colour You Are is the first of the great songs- regular Sylvian-guest Phil Palmer offers some sublime slide guitar to Rain Tree Crow's finest song (revisited on Damage & Everything and Nothing)- another peak in Sylvian's oeuvre...

There are several minimal acoustic songs- Rain Tree Crow, Boat's for Burning, Cries & Whispers- which contrast well with the band-songs and the instrumental directions (as a sequence this album really works well as a whole). The acoustic songs also prefigure tracks like 1999's Dobro#1 & much of the recent Blemish. Red Earth (as summetime ends) remains the most gorgeous ambient/instrumental piece here- hence its inclusion on the wonderful 'A Brief History of Ambient' series of compilations.

There are more great songs- single Blackwater, the guitar-inflected Blackcrow Hits Shoeshine City (predicting The First Day sound) & another joy, Pocket Full of Change (which is up there with the not dissimilar After the Flood By Talk Talk)

Rain Tree Crow is one of the Sylvian albums I play the most, which is surprising given how I wasn;t too keen when I first heard it. It has a very individual quality to it- despite referring back to such releases as Gone to Earth & Words with the Shaman, as it looks forward to Dead Bees on a Cake or Blemish. Rain Tree Crow is a perfect blend of ambient and songwriting and an album that should appeal to those with eclectic tastes; file between Bark Psychosis & Talk Talk...& certainly not far away from newer bands like Sigur Ros...
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 18 Jan 2013 19:55:07 GMT
Just how I feel! I could'nt get anything from this when I bought it, and tryin intermittently since then did'nt help, but finally Red Earth convinced me, and now I can't get enough. Seems like they've moved the tracks around since the original though, or is it just my memory?
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