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Credo: Rhetoric

For most of us, Credo is one of those English bands you've heard about but haven't heard. It's time to change that. Rhetoric offers little in the way of innovation, it pushes no envelopes, and it won't challenge anyone. But it's a bloody fine listen, and if Credo's style of progressive rock appeals to you, this record is - quite simply - a must-have.

Imagine a polished, modern-day, brilliantly mixed and produced version of Fish-era Marillion. Yes, kids, it's neo-progressive rock. And no, kids, that isn't a dirty word. It's a little lighter than Marillion, though, and similar bands that spring to mind are Arena and IQ, particularly because along with Fish, those acts feature powerful, angst-ridden vocals delivering lyrics that actually mean something. Each song tells a story that you can follow, and the listening experience is considerably enriched if you read the prose while listening.

The track listing shows 9 songs, but that's misleading. "Too Late..." and "...To Say Goodbye" flow seamlessly into one another, yielding a rich 12-minute piece that tells two sides of the same love story using powerful melodies and a catchy, lilting cadence to the lyrics. Similarly, "From The Cradle..." and "...To The Grave" are really joined at the hip, and play like a 20-minute epic that examines the horrors of World War I. Listen for the delicate piano work, the violin and the Fish-like singing. This is probably the most melodic - and certainly the most moving - piece on an already emotional album.

This is music with a purpose. "Skin Trade" examines the seedy life of a young girl drawn into porn, "Turn The Gun" looks at an assassination from the shooter's point of view, and "The Letter" starts softly - with someone writing a letter to a lover, and as the writer's anger builds, the letter morphs into a song (i.e. the one you're listening to) - ending in a wall of sound expressing how hurtful the lies have been. The details are so vivid you have to assume the song conveys a real experience.

So think of this as 7 songs in 69 minutes - for an average track length of around 10 minutes. And Credo uses that time wisely, building wonderfully managed tempo shifts into their sophisticated songwriting. The structures move and flow from soft ballads to huge walls of sound, and from vocal-driven sections to all instrumental bridges dominated by powerful guitar and keyboard interaction.

All 5 artists deliver top-drawer performances, and the band's mature sophistication and depth of experience - stretching back as far as 1972 - are abundantly clear.

Apparently Credo delivers an excellent live performance. Let's hope we see them in the USA soon, and that the wait for their third album will be a lot shorter than the 11 years it took to produce Rhetoric.

Track Listing:
1. Skin Trade (6:52)
2. Turn The Gun (6:54)
3. From The Cradle (7:25)
4. To The Grave (11:53)
5. The Letter (7:45)
6. The Game (11:39)
7. Too Late (6:46)
8. To Say Goodbye (4:41)
9. Seems Like Yesterday (5:40)

Added: November 29th 2006
Reviewer: Duncan Glenday
Related Link: The Band's Website
Hits: 40061
Language: english

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