The British musician Steve Thorne has already recorded three solo albums: Emotional Creatures, part 1 (2005), Emotional Creatures, part 2 (2007) and Into The Ether (2009, see review). On all these albums he was assisted by a line-up of well-known progressive rock musicians, who certainly lifted the quality of the music to a higher level. In spite of that, many prog heads felt that the music was sometimes too soft and slightly tended to pop music.
I must admit that while listening to Thorne's latest album Crimes And Reasons I felt the same, but after playing this CD more often I had to change my judgment. Sure, the first three tracks tend towards a style that many people would label as middle-of-the-road or melodic rock with a touch of pop music. However, the fourth track Everything Under The Sun can be regarded as a real highlight. The contribution of Martin Orford on flute certainly adds something special to this piece. This emotional ballad on which Steve Thorne plays all the other instruments, has much more to offer. Everything just falls in place here and that also applies to Fadeaway, the next track on the album. Sometimes it seems as if you're listening to a song performed by Porcupine Tree. The strong drum groove played by Bob White makes you tap along with the music. Also on Moth To Flame I heard a strong groove. This time Nick D'Virgilio (ex-Spock's Beard) excellently played the drums. Steve Thorne is not only a great singer, but also a great guitar player showing it on this track as well. His guitar solo sounds very melodic and is a real treat to listen to.
Blue Yonder is another piece on which Thorne shows that he can handle an electric guitar. Making Pans is a typical singer-songwriter piece, but with strong elements of progressive rock featuring once again a great guitar solo! On Modern Curse Steve shows to be a rocker as well and on the final track Distant Thunder he proves that he only needs a fantastic drummer to shine since all the other instruments like keyboards, bass, guitars and bass pedals, are played by himself thus creating a wonderful piece of music. Distant Thunder is a true progressive rock gem that ends the album the best possible way leaving me behind in a good mood!
Well, my final judgment of Crimes And Reasons after several spins turned out to be a very positive one. After repeated listens I discovered that there was more to it than meets the eye. Steve Thorne knows how to write fine tunes and provide them the necessary arrangements and instrumentations to make it more than just ordinary songs. This CD demands the listener's full attention to be fully appreciated. After all it was worthwhile that I spent some more time on Crimes And Reasons. Ultimately I will probably enjoy the first three tracks as well after listening to them more often!
***+ Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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