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Renaissance - Songs From Renaissance Days CD (album) cover

SONGS FROM RENAISSANCE DAYS

Renaissance

 

Symphonic Prog

2.16 | 59 ratings

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kenethlevine
Special Collaborator
Prog-Folk Team
1 stars If there is any comfort to be gleaned from this collection of outtakes from the early 1980s, it's that RENAISSANCE didn't pass up much in the way of superior material when they compiled their two studio recordings that decade. Here we are truly at the bottom of the proverbial barrel and it's nighttime. The disk is consistent in its general lack of inspiration and enthusiasm. Annie Haslam in particular sounds profoundly despondent, like her voice is present but would rather be elsewhere, as if she is being forced to sing beneath her station. The rest of the band are equally detached, and the flaw is as much in the arrangements as the compositions themselves.

I can only find a few bright spots - "Dreamaker" is the earliest recorded version of a track that would become "Love Lies Love Dies" in the 1990s under both Annie Haslam and Michael Dunford's Renaissance, and it's just as haunting here with Jon Camp's lyrics as it became under Betty Thatcher's.spell. Apart from its dramatics and dynamics, it has a lovely melody which transcends the period instrumentation. "Only When I laugh" is actually carried by Annie's voice and is pleasing in a detached new romantic meets ABBA sort of way. There seems little point to the poor arrangement of "Northern Lights" and the cover of "America" other than offering a semblance of familiarity to an otherwise anonymous collection, but they just make this listener sadder. Even the much touted "Island of Avalon" is as disappointing as the album from which it was omitted - anyway they already had a much better tune about an island on "Azure D'Or" called "Kalynda",

I suppose fans of "Time Line" might find some enjoyment here, and these tracks do elicit a certain morbid fascination. Renaissance certainly weren't the only prog group to falter clumsily in the 1980s, but somehow their demise seems sadder because they had so epitomized class in their glory days. This is the very definition of a nadir.

kenethlevine | 1/5 |

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