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David Cross & Peter Banks: Crossover

In all honesty it’s any wonder that Crossover exists at all, what with one of its two main protagonists having sadly passed away in 2013. However, three years earlier, one-time member of Yes and Mabel Greer’s Toyshop (and solo artist) Peter Banks brought his guitar work to an improvisational gathering with ex-King Crimson violinist David Cross and between them the pair crafted out an unintentional album’s worth of material. Knowing that his much missed friend had desired to have this work released, Cross then set about inviting a hugely impressive cast list featuring Pat Mastelotto, Tony Kaye, Billy Sherwood, Randy Raine-Reusch, Andy Jackson, Oliver Wakeman, Jay Schellen, Jeremy Stacey and Geoff Downes to add their talents to this instrumental set and make them into the full blown tracks we hear on this CD. In all honesty, that should have been a recipe for disaster, so that the results hold up in any way at all is to the immense credit of everyone involved at the original session and subsequently. How difficult it was for the ‘late-comers’ to add their parts, only they and Cross will know, but somewhat surprisingly, for the most part there’s no real suggestion of the piecemeal way in which the likes of “Rock To A Hard Place” or “The Work Within” came into being.

The overall theme across the entirety of Crossover is one of non-conformity and yet, all eight tracks seem unable not to sound like almost one continuous piece. That said, the two main men are generous in the space they left for each other and, unwittingly at the time, also with that they afforded the rest of the musicians to roam reasonably free in (whoever edited all of this together should take a bow). However where things lack - possibly understandably - is for a true focal point that stops nearly all of the songs from meandering off into the ether. Although there’s no denying that the sparking guitar from Banks on “Laughing Strange” (which also features Tony Kaye) really does push through, while it’s possibly the aforementioned “Rock To A Hard Place” (this time rounded out by Kaye, Sherwood, Wakeman and Schellen) where Cross truly shines.

Not meant to sound as damning as it possibly does, Crossover is a nice listen. There’s little here that challenges and little that breaks free and truly demands centre stage. That doesn’t mean that it isn’t a fitting tribute to all involved and especially the much missed Peter Banks. However, in all honesty, there are much better examples of the strengths and talents of all the musicians on this album, even if it undoubtedly came together for all the right reasons.

Track Listing
1. Rock to a Hard Place
2. Upshift
3. The Smile Frequency
4. The Work Within
5. Missing Time
6. Plasma Drive
7. Laughing Strange
8. Crossover

Added: August 27th 2020
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Crossover @ Cherry Red
Hits: 140
Language: english

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