The progressive rock/rock group Citadel was established in 1979 has been spearheaded by one member or another of the Whitman family since that time. Members come and go – but the one constant that remains is someone with the last name Whitman is sure to be taking the reigns of the group without missing a beat from the last incarnation.
My initiation to the band was way back in the early 80s’ when I purchased the CD “The Citadel Of Cynclosure And Other Tales”. At that time the band consisted of Kiki
Whitman (vocals, bass guitar, 6 & 12 string acoustic guitars), Gary Whitman (vocals, electric guitars, 6 & 12 string guitars), Ian Michaels (drums), and Matt Sachs (synthesizers, piano). The music was distinctly 70s’ American symphonic progressive rock with strong elements of electric folk/rock, highlighted by strong vocal harmonies.
Decades have passed since the release of “Citadel Of Cynclosure” as well as a plethora of Whitman’s and a variety of other players, but this latest release “Crosses Or Crowns” sounds like an immediate follow-up to that album of 30 years ago.
Not quite sure if that’s a good thing or bad thing. Can’t call it stagnation or accuse the band of suffering from an acute case of ‘Ozric Tentacles Syndrome’ because the tunes are all excellent – yet they seem to be mired in the 60s’/70s’ psychedelic folk rock era – a sound that is passé.
Oh sure … they’ve replaced a keyboard player with a MIDI-guitar which emulates any sound the keyboard could achieve – but listening to “Crosses Or Crowns” is like discovering an impressive lost early 70s’ recording and not something released in 2009.
I found myself adjusting the equalizer a little too much trying to pull out more mid-range and bring down the high end in an attempt to sweeten the over-all sound quality.
This is for fans with an affinity for the early symphonic/progressive electric folk/rock, similar to the self-titled 1971 album from the British progressive group “Spring” or the excellent 1973 album “Lies To Live By” from the Canadian group The Spirit Of Christmas.
8 out of 10 rating
Reviewed by Joseph Shingler on September 30th, 2009