Back in 1985 the British progressive rock act Multi-Story released with East West an excellent album. On the high quality compositions the melodic Mellotron parts played by Rob Wilsher and the high pitch vocals of Paul Ford were at the time, the trademarks for the band. Music wise Multi-Story was often compared with bands such as Magnum, Pendragon and Pallas. But also those who enjoyed in the eighties, Marillion and IQ could find a lot of great music on this release. Finally, many of those who were into the music of Yes also bought the band's debut album and comparisons were made with the vocals of Jon Anderson and Paul Ford. Doing a tour with the earlier mentioned Magnum brought them more fans. But as always a happy story comes to an ending one way or another. This happened to Multi-Story. Musical differences led to the departure of several members. The most important of all was the fact that during the recording of the bands second album Through Your Eyes lead singer Paul Ford quit. Finally, the album was released two years after their debut with Nicolas Grantley as their new singer. After hearing the album myself I lost interest in the band. Music wise it could not reach the level of their debut. Soon after they disbanded because their label did not promote their second album as it should have been.
But sometimes a sad ending can turn into a happy ending again after all. Because suddenly out of the blue the news arrived that after almost 30 years Multi-Story had made a comeback. But this time around they had changed their name Multi-Story into Multi Story. The duo Rob Wilsher and Paul Ford, who wrote all the songs for their first musical effort, had reunited. This did of course led to high expectations. Mainly because they both wrote all the songs for the band's third release, titled Crimson Stone. At first I was slightly disappointed. I guess the expectations were too high. My thoughts went to the band's fine debut. Something which was very wrong of me. I seriously had to get into the new songs before I fully could enjoy them. But after a while they started to grow on me. Most of all the song Tutankhamun grabbed me by the throat. Again I heard the wonderful Mellotron parts of the early days. Later on I did find out that this was not so strange. The song seems to be a remake of an earlier track taken from their first cassette. Titled Charms and released in 1984. One year before they released their so much beloved official debut album. Soon after that it was only a matter of time that also songs such as Murmuration, 12: 16 and particularly the title track, revealed the beauty that all the time was in store for me. The earlier mentioned duo were not solely responsible for this fact. Also guitarist Aedan Neal and the rhythm section consisting of drummer Jordan Neale and bassist Kyle Jones made Crimson Stone a very enjoyable listening experience. A listening experience with lots of fantastic keyboard parts and solos performed on the synthesizers and electric guitars. Above all the voice of Ford is still a must to hear.
An album which at first did not seem to live up to the expectation, turned out to be a real beauty! As if a disappointing return of a friend, who had long since been lost, turned out to be the person you always had missed so much after all. Sometimes the best albums are the so called growers. They take a little bit more time than rather hit you in the face right from the start.
If you loved East West as much as I did this new album Crimson Stone is certainly your cup of tea. But give it some time to grown on you, just like I did, before you make your verdict.
You will soon find out that a kind of nostalgia is served with melodic neo progressive rock of the old school. With again hints to the music made by IQ, Magnum, Pendragon, Pallas and early Marillion back in the eighties. All I can say is welcome back Multi Story. But don't make the same mistake as thirty years ago. Learn from your past!
**** Henri Strik (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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