I’m not sure it was worth a 5(?) year wait, but this is a good cd. I can’t (yet) say that it’s as good or better than any of the previous albums, because those have had years to grow on me and I really like them (except that stupid butterfly song on the last one. WTF?). It is definitely a work of quality though.
It does an interesting that may annoy certain kinds of listeners – it directly refers to previous songs, either thematically or by direct invocation of lyrics. This is a very interesting process, and can border on desperation if done wrong. However, I don’t think it’s done wrong here (it could be done better, but it’s not done wrong). The Crows have always addressed the same themes (loneliness, obsession with Hollywood, etc.), so those don’t come as particularly surprising.
What may jar you is when you hear a piece of a lyric from an older song or a piece of melody (perhaps recast with new words). Me, I like this effect so far. For those familiar with the previous works it calls up the entire emotional bundle of the song in question in just a few words, and allows the current song to address, utilize, or twist that it some way. Springsteen did a similar thing (although to a lesser degree) on his last album and concept albums like Green Day’s American Idiot do the same kind of thing but bounded by the album itself.
All in all, I’d say it’s a worthwhile experiment that would not function at it’s peak without the previous material so, probably won’t be as well appreciated by non-fans.
There is one track that annoys me (Le Ballet d’Or) but it’s nowhere near as bad as that stupid butterfly song. It just sounds awkward.