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Pendragon - The World CD (album) cover

THE WORLD

Pendragon

 

Neo-Prog

3.76 | 325 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Progressing well

Inexplicably, for some reason "The world" was the only Pendragon album missing form my collection up until this year. Released in 1991, some three years after "Kowtow", "The world" is Pendragon's first truly prog album. Following an abortive relationship with EMI records which resulted in the "Kowtow" album, this time the band decided to make the music they really wanted to make, an album for themselves. The result was a highly confident and competent statement of intent, and a first rate album too. By the way, it was around this time that Nick Barrett met his future wife, our very own "Progchick". Coincidence? I think not!

After the upbeat and admirably positive opener "Back in the spotlight", we have one of the albums highlights, "The voyager". Written during what Nick describes as "the most inspiring time of his life, in America", this fantastical tale of adventure is clearly semi-autobiographical, while reflecting the pioneers of yesteryear. Barrett's guitar work here is particularly striking, with Clive Nolan's keyboards laying lush textures of sound on which the track is built.

The two tracks which follow are shorter more standard Pendragon fare. "Shane" would have fitted in well on "Not of this world", while "Prayer" starts out as a softer ballad but builds quickly back to the big sounding stately form which characterises the band's music.

The centrepiece here though is undoubtedly the three part, 22 minute "Queen of hearts". This was the bands first attempt at a prog epic, and by and large it works well. There is perhaps an over dependence on the vocals, which largely suppresses the opportunities for instrumental development. While the lyrics are well written (Barrett is usually the sole composer on the album), a little pruning might have been wise. That said, Nolan does add some fine synthesiser to "A man could die out here" (the middle part). The album concludes with the reflective "And we'll go hunting deer"; a fine, relaxed, slightly softer piece.

The 2005 re-release of the album has a bonus track "Sister bluebird" (nothing to do with "Starship Trooper" by Yes). The track is very much in the same mould as those which precede it, with some fine guitar by Barrett.

In all, a fine album which will appeal to those who enjoy neo-prog. The Steve Hackett/Genesis influences are strong, especially in the guitar work. The band would develop and refine their style on future albums, but "The world" is the album which set them on the right course.

This was the first Pendragon album to feature the artwork of Simon Williams, the superb fantasy images further emphasising the prog direction the band had now firmly set course on.

Easy Livin | 4/5 |

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