"Rain Tree Crow's lone album is a bit of an oddity. This album came a decade after their final album as Japan (the fantastic Tin Drum) and really sounds absolutely nothing like any of their previous work. From my understanding, David Sylvian dominated the recording of the album (including the name change), and stylistically that shows. Not only that, but the band seemed ready to break up once more (which happened shortly after the album's release, I believe).
Given that, it perplexes me how this album is so damn good. I honestly don't know what the ex-Japan bandmates were trying to do with this album. Even after having listened to this quite a few times over the last 2 years, I'm not really sure what the aim of this album was. I'll be damned, however, if it isn't amazing.
The music on Rain Tree Crow generally lingers in a realm of bizarre cinematic tranquility. Songs like "Scratchings on the Bible Belt" are instrument drenched (woodwind instruments as well as banjos and strange flares of guitar penetrate a predominantly organ and percussion driven track) visions of the reality in which Rain Tree Crow seems to operate, while "Blackwater" is simply the most beautifully concise track ever written by this group.
What baffles me about this album is how peaceful it sounds. While the later Japan albums seemed about achieving a certain sound (assuming Tin Drum was the culmination of their experiments), Rain Tree Crow sounds absolutely natural. It's as if they were passing a stream some day and played exactly what they heard; there's a certain rhythm throughout the album that seems to gently and patiently carry the listener along.
Overall, I would put this, along with Tin Drum as Japan's best albums. As a Sylvian fan, I would rank this only behind his Secrets of the Beehive (probably the album that sounds most like what's on Rain Tree Crow, not to mention my favorite album ever) and Snow Borne Sorrow by Nine Horses (which features Sylvian's brother, and former Japan bandmate, drummer Steve Jansen). If you like Talk Talk, I would highly recommend this."