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Taļ Phong - Taļ Phong CD (album) cover


Taļ Phong


Symphonic Prog

3.66 | 103 ratings

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Honorary Collaborator
2 stars The cool cover art is the best part.

Tai Phong is sort of France's version of cheese-prog like we have Styx here, rather the lightweight pop side of progressive symphonic. Feels good but not much meat. They are no where near the league of other French symphonic bands like Ange, Eclat, Atoll, Cafeine, Shylock, Carpe Diem, Arachnoid, Pentacle, or Pollen from Canada. Of their two albums that matter, most will direct you to this debut but the second album "Windows" is better in my opinion and I was much more sympathetic in that review. It seems to have better dynamics, energy, and songs. But Sean Trane has this band pegged right: as he says in his review this is the bottom of the barrel of French progressive and should be the last thing you check out after the above groups plus others not mentioned. There are a few good moments here but overall this is 2 stars tops.

"Goin' Away" is an upbeat rocker delivered with the distinctive super-high vocals. There is some nice guitar work here which is always the highlight of Tai Phong for me. "Sister Jane" is really some dreadful tripe, the kind of song that they used to play at the roller rink when they wanted the boys and girls to skate/dance together. These first two songs are more like mediocre late 70s Jefferson Starship songs, the kind where you can't get to the tuner presets fast enough to change the station. "Crest" is the best here with some spirited keys and good bass, and thankfully few vocals. "For Years and Years" begins with nice piano and after some tentative vocals there are some decent workouts on keys and guitar. But eventually it slips back into laid back schlock, syrupy beyond any hope. Side 2 begins with "Fields of Gold" and this reminds a bit of Sebastian Hardie with the precious vocals in front of some nice melodic electric guitar. The middle section features rising dramatic keyboard atmospheres and eventually more wailing guitar. Not too bad but nothing spectacular either. "Out of the Night" clocks in at well over 11 minutes and begins with wind and storm noises, then mellotron (I think) creeps in with the vocal. The track proceeds mostly with a uniform slow pace and the laid back vocal against the keys, with little else happening save some occasional piano tinkles or guitar flourishes. The vocals are well done on this song (not so annoying) but honestly there is just dreadfully little to recommend this. Finally at 7 ½ minutes in we get a serious electric solo and breaks the monotony, it is well played and again sounds like a Sebastian Hardie lead (nice but repetitive.) A nice bit of piano closes the song, which has barely altered the same tone and beat started 12 minutes ago.

Really only "Crest" and some occasional instrumental moments save this album from total disaster for me. This is for Tai fans only. For other wishing to sample this band, definitely go for Windows over this debut. But seriously, unless you like sappy romantic pop music disguised by prog icing because it was hip at the time, look elsewhere. I just can't shake the contrived feeling I get from this album and perhaps that's why it doesn't work for me. But I did re-listen to Windows for this review and stand by that album as the better one. More energy, more happening, better sound, and no Sister Jane thank God.

Finnforest | 2/5 |


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