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Spiro, Mark - 2003 King Of The Crows



ARTIST: Spiro, Mark
ALBUM: King Of Crows
LABEL: Atenzia
SERIAL: ATZ 02008
YEAR: 2003

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Mark Spiro - vocals, all instruments * Tim Pierce - guitars * Chris Brogan - guitars 'Saving Grace'

TRACK LISTING: 01 King Of Crows * 02 Julia (The Sleeping Beauty) * 03 Saving Grace * 04 Everybody Needs * 05 One Horse Town * 06 After You * 07 Cracked (What's It All Worth) * 08 When Winter Comes * 09 Always * 10 Just Another Freak * 11 It's All About You * 12 Why Wait For Love 'Til You Die


Background
The Rembrandts recently released their 'Lost Together' CD on Atenzia. Following on the heels of that effort is the latest offering from songwriter extraordinaire Mark Spiro. I mention these two in the same breath, because Mark has taken his latest journey down Old Coach Road, rather than AOR Boulevard where he had previous travelled. The jangly singer/songwriter mode is a comfortable fit for him, it's just that his past track record of his written material was probably suitable for the era that it belonged in. I mean Bad English and a whole host of others belonged in the eighties, and thats where Mark has left it. Nowadays, the simpler acoustic/electric mix is much more refined and palatable for all audiences and a crossover of genres. Stylistically we're combining a modern acoustic rock edge, with a dreamy near whimsical like Beatles approach. Ya know, after listening to Aviary's recent release 'Ambition', I found that 'King Of The Crows' was a great way to segue into it, in some places the comparison too close to call! There's not too much in the way of overblown keyboards, even less so the stinging guitar solos normally associated with Tim Pierce. Instrumentally, the guys allow the music to take a back seat for once, and let the subtle power and lyrical energy of the songs shine through. Simplistic in structure, when compared to his 1996-1999 releases, the predominant acoustic pieces contain a faint backwash of keys, and lots of overdubbed vocal choruses, which is what gives it an atmospheric feel.


The Songs
The title track gets us going, a mildly upbeat affair complete with crows, blackbirds and picket fences! 'Julia (The Sleeping Beauty)' is a lovely Rembrandts styled piece, that guitar hook through the verses simple but effective. Ironically, the heaviest the guitar gets is on 'Saving Grace', ironically by Chris Brogan instead of Tim. 'Everybody Needs' is a direct Beatles hark-back, the Brad Love/Aviary comparison very evident on this one! I love the dreamy 'lazy summer day' approach of 'One Horse Town', the ambience reminding me of Donna Lewis 'Now In A Minute' CD, obviously without the will-o-the-wisp vocals from the Welsh chanteuse. Meanwhile 'After You', with acoustic strumming to the fore, makes for an ideal unplugged live number. probably the track which is a representation of his nineties era work is 'Always', the pulsing bass and insistent keys landing fairly and squarely into AOR territory, probably the only track that does! The finale 'Why Wait For Love Til You Die' is a late night relaxer, ideal for the Latte and Espresso sippers of this world, a great way to wind down with this simple acoustic closer.


In Summary
'King Of The Crows' is a CD release befitting Atenzia's focus on artists/acts playing in that modern rock style. A look at their forthcoming roster reinforces that position. The album is not as glossy as 'Now Is Then Then Is Now' or 'Devotion' for instance, nor is it that immediate. But the songs do have hookability value, once you play them over and over. You know this is so when you can't stop humming these tunes! Obviously a guy who knows to create 3 minutes of magic most of the time!


Related Articles
Spiro, Mark - 1996 Now Is Then, This Is Now
Spiro, Mark - 2003 King Of Crows
Spiro, Mark - 2005 Mighty Blue Ocean
Spiro, Mark - 2012 It's A Beautiful Life


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Comments
#1 | Jez on June 16 2008 02:47:23
Yet another great release from Mr. Spiro and without a doubt his best release since 96's 'Now Is Then' cd. Great songs throughout and as usual Tim Pierce provides able support to Spiro's excellent vocals. If you have enjoyed his past works then i have no hesitation in recommending this one to you. Excellent
 
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