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Craft - 1984 Craft

ALBUM: Craft
LABEL: Shanghai
YEAR: 1984
CD REISSUE: 1992, Kinesis (USA), KDCD1003


LINEUP: Martin Russell - bass * William Gilmour - keyboards * Grant McKay Gilmour - percussion

TRACK LISTING: 01 Aries * 02 Taurus * 03 Gemini * 04 Cancer * 05 Leo * 06 Virgo

Ex- members of The Enid, Martin Russell and William Gilmour stepped out on their own with a concept album based on six signs of the Zodiac. Not entirely an original idea, its been done before of course going all the way back to electronic composer Mort Garson and his 1967 psych album 'The Zodiac Cosmic Sounds' and in the progressive rock world anything ancient and classical is always fair game when it comes to subject matter. Released on the unknown Shanghai label, the record at the time was never easy to find and it came out in a period when The Enid were releasing a good amount of product of their own with the reworking of older material, fan club releases and other artists on the bands own The Stand label including a nice art rock album from Glen Baker and spiritualist, artist and composer William Arkle. Craft's only album fit perfectly not only with their former band mates prolific activity, but in sound as well which wasnt necessarily a good thing.

The Songs
With drummer Grant McKay Gilmour, the trio perplexingly does their best to recreate The Enid with some minor differences. The approach here is much more aggressive than The Enid and yet supposedly there is no guitar although I wonder if that was truly the case since it sure sounds like one was used, especially on the opener 'Aries' and 'Gemini'. The keyboard work of William Gilmour is classically influenced and well played although the drum sound leaves much to be desired and yet, the biggest problem I have with the album - so many of the melodies sound like they were lifted directly from any Enid album prior to 1983. Usually musicians with some amount of credibility do their best to distance themselves from their previous employer and this was clearly not the case with Craft.

In Summary
Released on CD with bonus tracks by the Kinesis label in the early 1990s but is now long out of print. I suppose most Enid fans will have already heard it, but I cant give Craft a full-on recommendation to the rest of you. A much better proposition in my opinion is checking out the early albums by The Enid including 'In the Region of Summer Stars' and 'Aerie Faerie Nonsense' for the real deal.

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