From the five-man band present on Citizen Cain's second album Somewhere But Yesterday, only two remained for Raising the Stones. The enigmatic Xyrus handles all lyrics and vocals, multi-instrumentalist Stewart Bell takes care of the rest. The first consequence of this reduction is a highly synthetic sound. Programmed drums and keyboards provide the bulk of the arrangements and it affects the flow and warmth of the album. Luckily, Bell's incredible basslines adorn the music. Xyrus still sounds like a clone of Peter Gabriel, but the group's music is much more complex than anything Genesis ever recorded. The album is made from a number of sections assembled into suites and a few songs. Greeko-Roman mythology and the Old Testament are intertwined in these undecipherable lyrics about past heroes. Titles like "Corcyra: The Suppliants" and "Silently Seeking Euridice" already give a good idea about the intellectual difficulties you'll encounter. The music is even harder to digest. The singer has a knack for the melody that hits where it counts, but constant shifts in tempos and time signatures, brutal changes from one section to the next, the never-ending instrumental bridges all make it too easy to loose oneself in a song without being able to distinguish heads from tails. Part overwhelming, part self-indulging, Raising the Stones pushes complexity for complexity's sake. Not as immediately likeable as Somewhere But Yesterday, it still has a lot to offer to prog rock fans if they don't mind programmed drums. "Bad Karma" and the closing "Silently Seeking Euridice" stand among the group's best tracks.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by François Couture