Heads On Fire EP
It was a mixture of things that struck me about the band's live performance: the rich texture of the music; the unique linear quality of the songs - which establish their structure right at the start, then just keep building and building until they self-destruct; and the raw sensuality - not only of the vocals (although that element is undeniable) - but of the music aswell. And it's precisely the same qualities which appeal about this EP.
The first track, 'Berlin', is a little more structured than the others and as a result seems to suffer, with the vocals - although wonderfully evocative - almost having the feeling of being tacked on to the song as an afterthought. Fortunately this is the only place where you feel the 'hand of James Ray' dominating the sound. From here on in it's pure These Crimson Dreams, and is all the better for it.
The second track, 'Divine', sees the vocals cutting an elegant path through swathes of reverb-soaked guitar and keyboards, the drum patterns forming a strong compelling backbone to the song. I'd like to reiterate that word at this point: elegance. These Crimson Dreams possess it by the truckload, and they're not afraid to show it. 'Paper Ghost' ups the tempo a little, but retains the sensuality and the passion. While the closing track 'Dance Alone' is a heart-aching soliloquy, which winds and teases its way to an intimate conclusion.
Although this CD lacks some of the bombastic qualities of the band's live sound (more than likely due to the sanitising nature of Ray's production), it is a more than worthy debut and possesses many qualities (not the least of which is originality); qualities which should see These Crimson Dreams build and build. One thing is evident: this is only a beginning. (PB)