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Magenta - Home + New York Suite CD (album) cover





3.76 | 94 ratings

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5 stars Home was a disappointment to many after the triumph of Seven. Maybe people wanted "Seven Vol. 2" or perhaps "Eight." Instead, Rob Reed decided to go with a full on concept album. Whereas Seven had been an album revolving around an idea, with songs that did not connect, Home has one story line. It is about a young woman's Journey from England to the States and the troubles she encounters. The story is secondary to the music of course but gives a foundation to the always beautiful vocals of Christina Booth. And since the songs are mostly shorter from what Seven offered, she is asked to sing quite a bit more. There aren't as many of the longer instrumental passages of Seven and since there is a story to tell, hence more vocals. And since Christina's voice is of a level of another instrument, that is fine by me. (You can't say Geddy Lee's voice is another "instrument" in Rush's music).

Of the 15 tracks, 6 of them are under 3 minutes long. Most of these are sparse numbers, highlighting Christina's voice and moving the story along. If you only like the bombastic side of Magenta, these may turn you off. But I find that Magenta mastermind Rob Reed is able to capture some wonderful melodies among these using piano and acoustic guitar that make you just want to close your eyes and concentrate on the beauty. As to the longer songs, there are many that have that infectious melody that Reed has an absolute gift to create. Again, most of these are not as sweeping as what was on Seven, but they will get stuck in your head and that is not a bad thing. And some of the guitar solos laid down are spine chilling; especially the one on Demons, a haunting masterpiece that I only wish was longer.

This album is a grower and took me at least 6 listens spread over several months to fully grasp how good it is. At first it was a bit of a shock after Seven, but I applaud Reed for taking his music in a new direction while maintaining the thing he does best. And that is creating albums oozing with melody while using a wide variety of instruments and sounds to create musical landscapes.

As for New York Suite, there are four rather long songs and a short coda. The initial idea was to have a double album, but Reed decided to focus the story within one CD and I think that was the right move. The NYS songs are all well done but not quite to the level as the main disk. I always listen to both disks back to back and NYS is a good complement. And I would certainly recommend getting the 2-disk edition if you can.

I would have to categorize this album under the term I used above for Seven, and that is "triumph." Magenta turns off many people who listen to prog because they think of them as too derivative. Rob Reed may be influenced by the masters, but he is still a unique talent in my mind and he need not apologize for the glorious albums he has crafted in Magenta. I have waffled between a 4 or 5 star rating as I gave Seven a 5 and feel Home is barely below it in quality. But I can't sell this one short and will give it a 4.75 and round it up. Within its genre, a masterpiece in my eyes.

johnobvious | 5/5 |


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