Mike McLatchey    7-July-2003 Ultimo Miraggio

Mad Crayon - "Ultimo Miraggio"
(Cygnus records CR001, 1994, CD)

Mad Crayon are a modern Italian quintet of the symphonic variety. Two of the members play keys, so as you can expect, the sound is lush and beautiful. The band is young, a surprising thing considering the arrangements on this album aren't your average four-chord, single rhythm sort of deal. The overall structure is accessible, and at times it's a bit too much for this reviewer, yet I don't think that ever stopped anyone. Most of Mad Crayon's energy goes to the vocal format, which is similar in ways to many of their present day contemporaries when sticking to Italian, but sound a lot like - well, Genesis when singing in English.

At times, I find it to be too lyrically overloaded, and I'm sure would it would have been more effective with a better balance. It's their instrumental capability that takes these guys over the edge. At times they are breathtaking, with classical melodies played at a frenetic pace - harmonically complex and emotionally moving. In all truth, this is a very good debut, much better than any new Italian debut I've heard since Deus Ex Machina's Gladium Caeli. This is a talented young group, I have no doubt we'll be hearing more from them in the future.

(Originally published in Exposť #5, p. 23, Edited for Gnosis 8/24/02)

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