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Cressida

Cressida

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Album Review

Cressida was known as a British progressive rock group for the obvious reason that this is exactly what they were, but this album shows what set them apart from most of the competition — they were fun. The songs may have been serious and complex, and the mix of organ and Mellotron with classical-style acoustic guitar and melodies derived from classical and folk traditions may have intersected with the Moody Blues and King Crimson. But their approach was so upbeat and cheerful (even songs with titles like "Depression") that the stuff had the ambience of finely crafted pop/rock — a lot like the first Bee Gees album, which is not surprising since Ossie Byrne, who produced that record, also produced this one. The beautiful melodies, the vocals by lead singer Angus Cullen (which fall midway between Paul McCartney and Justin Hayward), the subtle and unpretentious yet complex keyboard embellishments by Peter Jennings, the guitar virtuosity (running the gamut from classical on "Winter Is Coming Again" to blues on "Time for Bed"), and the cheerful ambience of the material make this a highly seductive album and a must-own for psychedelic and progressive rock enthusiasts. Even the running times are restrained, barely topping five minutes anywhere on the record. Yet, for all of that accessibility, there's nothing art rock-lite about Cressida — this band plays hard and works at it; the resulting album is simply polished in all the right ways and inventive in the most accessible way imaginable. And one track, "Down Down," is such a hauntingly beautiful song that it's almost worth the price of the CD by itself. Reissued variously by Polygram International, Repertoire Records of Germany, and Akarma Records of Italy, the latter edition in a re-creation of the original record sleeve.

Biography

Formed: 1969

Genre: Dance

Years Active: '70s

Cressida was a British art rock band formed at the tail-end of the 1960s in the shadow of (and their music very much in thrall to) the Moody Blues, with a heavy organ and Mellotron sound courtesy of keyboard player Peter Jennings. The original lineup of Jennings, Angus Cullen (vocals, guitar), John Heyworth (guitar), Kevin McCarthy (bass), and Ian Clark (drums) was signed to Polydor's progressive rock imprint, Vertigo Records. The group had a dense, lyrical sound, and Cullen's singing was of a pleasing,...
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Cressida, Cressida
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