Spotted Peccary - 2010
First of all, the three-sided outer fold of The Crossing has to be the most visually magnificent CD cover I've ever seen. The outer fold shows jagged snow capped mountain tops jutting out above a blanket of clouds, while a brilliant colored sky (probably at sunrise or sunset) mixing dark clouds with reddish-white sunlight scatters across the horizon. The inner fold looks like a sandy beach trail covered with flog. Awesome, jaw-dropping artwork, photos and design by Michael Karcz.
"Awake" sets up slowly as Helpling & Jenkins take their time to construct an opening that is atmospheric, big and promises you are in store for much more.
Helpling's moody guitar chords lead us down "Two Paths." What's cool is the guitar is dark, while the keyboards parts bring light into the mix, the percussion keeps the music moving forward. The bouncing, echo effect is killer. There's a percussive sound that sounds like a person clicking their tongue.
It's easy to get attached to the rhythm of the third track "From The Smallest Seed."
"The Same Sky" is big, open and done with a gentle touch. The composition in this track plays like clouds drifting across the sky. Notes come in then sustain and move slowly from one side of the mix to the other, just like clouds do.
The title track "The Crossing" has a majestic quality that is punctuated with the drums. The song does have a traveling feel that takes you from one place to an entirely different destination. The instrumentation all works towards getting you there. I do think the electric guitar was cool and could have been brought out even more.
There is important meaning to "Above All." You can feel the guys sincerity with each passing swell of the music.
"For The Fallen" runs almost ten minutes long and is the longest track on the album. The first half is stoic, gradually building to an emotional payoff during the last half of the song.
I wonder what inspired he guys to write "The Lesson." The title intrigues me. This eighth track has a gorgeous mixture of keyboards and drums that tell a story.
Helpling & Jenkins take us "To The Ends of the Earth." The journey takes just over eight minutes and you enjoy the ride. Audio sound is exquisite and powerful. The music design has the sensation of searching for something.
"Not Forgotten" projects a feeling of finality in the middle of the tenth tune's running time.
The last track "Lifted" brought me up to a higher emotional level. The rhythm of the high keyboard part psychologically elevates.
The Crossing is a different album in terms of overall texture than Helping and Jenkins prior CD Treasure. It's ambitious, sounds fantastic and in some ways darker but more subtle at the same time.