Yeah, but where is that bass??
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Rain Tree Crow was a reunion of the members of early-80s art pop group Japan who blazed a small, but worthy of respect, trail of real musicianship and craft in that oddly frothy period. Since the somewhat rancorous demise of the band (at the peak of its commercial success) its members had gone in different directions, with the main writer and singer, David Sylvian, releasing several excellent albums. Since the band was reformed more or less under his tutelage (and split again, apparently with the rancor intact), it is no surprise that the album sounds very much like a Sylvian album: slightly pastoral, exotically coloured by instruments old and tweaked, with his deep and sonorous voice often center stage. There are several strong songs on the album (Blackwater, Pocket Full of Change and Every Colour You Are are the best), some duds (the very 80s artfunk of Blackcrow Hits Shoeshine City..even the title makes you blanch), and some surprises (the opener is a great big slice of world music that somehow works) but the best pieces are the instrumental ones, which are like tiny but lush, panoramic movies. Oddly, the one instrument that really defined the original Japan -- Mick Karn's huge, squelching fretless bass -- is completely absent from Rain Tree Crow. Can't help but admit that it is goofily missed."
Smooth jazz - the way it's meant to be
spiral_mind | Pennsylvania | 03/23/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Look at the cover picture for a moment. Imagine being lost in whatever strange world it shows. As night falls, a mysterious feeling permeates the air. This music perfectly fits the feeling you'd get from sitting by that desert highway on a warm spring night while clouds gather, giving just a hint of coming rain.Too whimsical? Then I'll just say that if you like David Sylvian's other work, you won't find much wrong with this CD. It doesn't bear too much resemblance to his former group Japan, whose members reunited for this project. Apparently they began fighting (again) while it was still half-finished. Dave was left to mix and oversee the finished product.. and it understandably bears more of his stamp than, say, Gentlemen Take Polaroids. I for one am glad. The result is a sound that's full of ambience surrounding you like a cocoon.To put it in perspective: I love Sylvian's work. I can't stand Japan. I greatly enjoy Rain Tree Crow. "Big Wheels in Shanty Town" establishes the tone from the beginning with an easy, relaxing groove that shuffles along in no hurry. From there we go to the easy relaxing croon of the highlight "Pocket Full of Change," to the easy relaxing waves of "Blackwater," to the easy relaxing farewell of "Cries and Whispers." This is definitely an album of one mood.. but once you become addicted, it's a mood you'll return to again and again."
L. S. Slaughter | Chapel Hill, NC | 10/21/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"How has this exotic, strange, lovely CD gone so unnoticed? This is one of Sylvian's best efforts, well, alongside GONE TO EARTH. It's odd grey-music, but the ususal nice Sylvian melodies and lyrics. Very, very cinematic.