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Cross - Playgrounds

Cross - PlaygroundsCross is the band of Progress Records' top man and multi-instrumentalist, Hansi Cross and also features Lollo Andersson (basses) and Thomas Hjort (drums, harmony vocals).  Playgrounds is the band's eighth album (if you include their mini CD, Paradox).  Joining the band for this album, among a variety of guest musicians is Grand Stand's (and Spektrum) Olav Andersson who adds his keyboard skills, and Goran Fors (Galleon, Spektrum).

The music leans on the heavier and more majestic side of prog, at times hitting the neo style of latter day IQ and also mid- term Genesis (prior to Hackett's departure), the latter especially notable by the keyboards and percussion styles and sounds.

It is not only the sounds which are reminiscent of Genesis and IQ.  The compositions and phrasings regularly nod towards these great bands, instantly giving the listener to Cross for the first time that feeling of familiarity and warmth.

As with most review comparisons with other bands, they are just comparisons and this should not be taken to mean that Cross is a clone, only that they pick and alter certain snippets of influential sounds and ideas, which is almost inevitable given the influence of the prog greats.

Vocals are very good and have that deep rasping element of those of Mr Gabriel, an analogy I should apologise for given my previous comment!

This is an easy album to get into and is instantly likeable in my opinion.  There are some interesting and brilliant guitar and bass moments which appear both 3 mins 14 secs into the first track, Let The Play Begin, and 2mins 16 secs into the last, Mesmerising Enterprise (which, incidentally has some Floyd and Camel moments), very familiar to these ears but perhaps that is because it sounds so good and right.

Like all the Progress Records catalogue we have heard to date, Playgrounds does not disappoint. Recommended.

Jem Jedrzejewski



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