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Benjamin Croft: We Are Here To Help
Benjamin Croft - We Are Here To Help Album Art

Benjamin Croft: We Are Here To Help

Melodic Progressive Rock
5.0/5.0

British keyboard player, songwriter, and producer Benjamin Croft is something of a hidden prodigy in the progressive music genre. He started playing piano and trumpet at the age of seven. As a teen he was introduced to progressive music via Yes's Close To The Edge, wherein his musicianship expanded beyond piano to more diverse keyboard work. Graduating from Leeds College Of Music, Croft tour the States and the world performing with Belinda Carlisle, Leslie Garrett, The Temptations and The Platters.

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Benjamin Croft

A gifted songwriter in his own right, Croft began writing and recording for his own solo projects. 2019 introduced 10 Reasons To .... This was followed by Far And Distant Things in 2021. Both albums for success and acclaim from UK to Europe to the United States. Now, the prodigious and talented Croft returns with his third album, We Are Here To Help on his new label, Galactic Receiver.


Musically then, Croft's progressive work is informed by both classic melodic progressive rock and it's more modern interpretations that recognize the same, yet also jazz-rock fusion. Croft can channel Rick Wakeman, Keith Emerson, and Chick Corea, but also be found standing with peers such Jordan Rudess, Derek Sherinian, and Neal Morse. Some will likely make comparisons from Yes to King Crimson, Dream Theater to Transatlantic or The Flower Kings. The new album also features help from friends of the genre: Simon Phillips, Marco Minnemann, Billy Sheehan, Stu Hamm, Jeff Scott Soto, Greg Howe, Mike Stern and Frank Gambale, among others.

Fundamentally, and obviously, We Are Here To Help is an immensely keyboard-centric album; this is self-evident throughout. (This is not to slight the accompanying musicians who give remarkable performances throughout especially via rhythm section and guitar solos.) It's also largely instrumental, though there are vocal pieces such as the heavy prog rocker We Are Here To Help and the female fronted Wrestling With Plato. With Caught In The Flypaper, the vocals are so slight that they can be missed.

More larger instrumental excursions into grand prog wonkery (in the best sense) come With You Made Me Miss, Same Siders, and Lower Moat Manor. A recurring musical undercurrent, or better, an arrangement arc is Croft's use of jazz rock fusion. This rises notably in the rhythm section, but also, in his keyboard work. The pivotal example is found at the start with the fantastic The Age Of Magrathea. This was my favorite song on the album.

All said, Benjamin Croft's We Are Here To Help is a well-crafted, beautifully played, and expertly executed album of classic melodic progressive rock, interpreted for the new century. Croft is a master and this album should not be overlooked. Quite recommended.


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The Take Away

Benjamin Croft's We Are Here To Help is a well-crafted, beautifully played, and expertly executed album of classic melodic progressive rock, interpreted for the new century. Croft is a master and this album should not be overlooked. Quite recommended.

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