In 1990 the Scottish singer Fish (ex-Marillion) released a track on his debut album Vigil In A Wilderness Of Mirrors with the title Family Business. I thought about this song when I received a copy of The Lidless Room from Dutch band Crescent Moon. The reason is quite simple when you read the biography on their website. It goes as follows; “Crescent Moon is a band from the Dutch village Babberich and was formed in 2014 by brothers Eric Peters (bass) and Frank Peters (vocals, guitars, drum programming). In 2015 joined by Bas Peters (trumpet and midi programming) and Tim Peters (flugelhorn and keyboards), both sons of Frank Peters”. However, when you hear the music on the band's debut the connection with Fish is gone. Another influence can be heard instead.
But before I go deeper into those influences and the music on The Lidless Room I have to tell you that this album was inspired by the parable "Before The Law" by Franz Kafka. This lead to a musical concept that deals with all media and other absurdities of contemporary society whose technologies are many times faster than developing the ability of people to deal meaningfully with these achievements. The music that comes along with this concept refers mainly to albums by Pink Floyd and Roger Waters. Those influences are not denied by the band and mentioned on their website as acts whom inspired them. However, other influences were mentioned as well. They came up with names such as Radiohead, Smashing Pumpkins, Faith No More and Marilyn Manson. Movie soundtracks, brass bands and classical music were an inspiration for them as well. But as far as I could hear those influences did not come to the surface as much as Pink Floyd and Roger Waters.
The musical links are mainly caused by the way they tell the story of this album. Like the mentioned acts they use sound fragments and the human voice to bring the concept to life, just like you can hear on Pink Floyd's The Wall (1979) and The Final Cut (1983) or on Water's solo albums The Pros And Cons Of Hitch Hiking (1984) and Amused To Death (1992). Also, Frank Peters' lead vocals often remind me of his musical heroes! Plus the use of female backing vocals makes you think about Pink Floyd. But what about the guitar solos by guest musician Chico Dommeck? You can hear him on four tracks and you can't deny that several times he moves towards the style of David Gilmour. Finally I have to mention that the use of a trumpet and a flugelhorn on several compositions made me think of the album Atom Heart Mother that Pink Floyd released in 1970, on which they also used guest musicians who played several brass instruments. All those musical links to Pink Floyd and Roger Waters on the eleven compositions doesn't mean you are dealing with simple copycats here though. All songs are strong enough to have an identity of their own. Hearing the music of their heroes can be seen as paying tribute to them.
I can not only be positive about this release. The same goes for the way The Lidless Room is released. Bonus points go out for the quite nice visual presentation in DVD box format. It is delivered with a beautiful 16 pages full colour booklet. The artwork for the album was provided by Margot Peters, who is the sister of Frank and Eric. So family business again! She made amazing drawings for every single track to get even more into the story of contemporary critical issues such as media control and omnipotence, monitoring through data collection, terrorism or even the ludicrous dominance of smartphones!
It has to be said that Crescent Moon plays with style, but they still have a lot to learn to bring their music to the next level. There is still room for improvement. The band probably needs a real drummer of flesh and blood to bring a little bit more power into the band! The first hurdle was taken with a few obstacles, that's for sure, and the road to international success is still long. But I am convinced that in the end all things will work out for them in a positive way, coming up with an album with less Pink Floyd and Roger Waters influences and a musical identity of their own.
Highly recommended to everybody who enjoys Pink Floyd and Roger Waters. Thumbs up for Crescent Moon and their album The Lidless Room!
**** Henri Strik (edited by Astrid de Ronde)
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