The Swedish formation Crea was founded as Crea Brotherhood in 1989, but soon after the debut the band changed its name into simply Crea. Although Crea has been active for many years, its first CD entitled Dwarves & Penguins was released not until 30 years after the band started, in 2019, incredible!
In all those years the band has matured, collected its best material and finally put it on CD. That's what I notice during my first listening session: a tight and experienced unit that delivers well structured and pleasant compositions, very melodic, harmonic and accessible, far away from self-indulgence, a nice variety in styles, and some surprising musical ideas.
The album starts with the powerful and swinging short track The March Of The Penguins, it contains a dynamic rhythm-section, flashy synthesizer flights and fiery electric guitar (a kind of 'heavy Allan Holdsworth'). Then four songs that alternate between Neo-prog and melodic pop rock (evoking Duran Duran), from dreamy with Steve Rothery-like guitar to mid-tempo with lots of fiery guitar soli, the English vocals sound pleasant and inspired. Next the other instrumental composition entitled The March Of The Dwarves featuring a swinging rhythm and powerful sound, strong interplay, in a bombastic climate, halfway the music slows down with nice work on keyboards and guitar, and finally again a swinging rhythm with fluent bass runs. The final two (mid-long) tracks are loaded with flowing changing climates and obviously in the realm of Eighties Neo-prog (from Marillion to Pallas). You can enjoy wonderful work on keyboards (including a Mellotron choir-like sound), strong vocals and excellent guitar play, from a volume pedal sound to fiery and blistering soli, driven by the distinctive E-bow (a device that you move on the strings, it delivers a wide range of sounds).
So after all those years Crea has decided to release a debut CD, a very good choice, this album showcases the bands potential. To me it sounds like an interesting pick up for those who are into Neo-prog and melodic pop rock, with some surprising musical twists, thumbs up.
***+ Erik Neuteboom (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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