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Saga - Saga CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.71 | 213 ratings

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4 stars Saga's launch is a ravishingly handsome set that was both wholly original and quietly snickered at-- and why not; there were so many other more interesting bands around in 1978. But looking back, when the dust had settled and only those who had something genuine to say were remembered, this record holds-up beautifully. It may even sound better now than in '78 and was clearly ahead of the rock curve. It presented prog in a new context, one of silk suits, Italian leather loafers, and an Omega hanging off the wrist. Saga was clean, dapper, and sparsely adorned. It was also a killer rock album showing a team and songwriting system of unequaled efficiency and economy. 'How Long' is Ian Crichton's delicious riff complementing the staccato blip of brother Jim's synth, light shuffle of 'Humble Stance' is pleasant, cresting with a squealer from Jim and a well-planned guiitar/key duel, and romantic lament 'Climbing the Ladder' is carefully layered with counterpoint and building themes.

'Will it Be You' might've been a minor hit if it'd been 1982 and rocks hard for a pop tune; 'Perfectionist' is aloft quickly, sports a riveting Moog break, tells the homicidal tale of one Ellery Sneed and is one of the best cuts here where subtle notes of Genesis are tasted; Street bop pushes cynical 'Give 'em the Money', a great little tune with riff-master Ian Crichton reflecting his affinity for Jimmy Page. Less successful is bizarre 'Ice Nice' with its 1970s porn keyboard parts and creepy lyric but 'Tired World' hits a good stride and foreshadows the synth-pop that was to come.

The future saw choppy waters for these Canucks as they would go on to release albums both inconsistent and satisfying to a largely uninterested world. But these guys were survivors, weren't going away, and built up a quiet but enviable following all around the globe. A very strong four stars.

Atavachron | 4/5 |


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