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Taļ Phong - Sun CD (album) cover


Taļ Phong


Symphonic Prog

2.88 | 25 ratings

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3 stars A long 21 years after "Last Flight" failed lift-off, TAI PHONG reformed, admittedly with only 2 long time members. While "Sun" is not really a prog album, it retains enough of their trademark sound - high pitched male vocals, appealing harmonies, occasionally soaring lead guitars and varied keyboards - to be worth a listen or two.

The 2 lengthier tracks would be of most interest; even if not exactly epic, they each have two parts in deference to a time when suites were de rigeur, and they appear to have been well thought out. Vocals are predominant and the instrumental breaks don't flex as they did during the band's heyday, instead expounding upon the vocal themes effectively. "Rainy Night in Saigon" is well arranged and incorporates a children's choir without sounding sappy. "Now I know" is more upbeat and dramatic but in a similar vein.

A couple of ballads are also noteworthy, these being "Everything's Wrong" and the lovely and languid "Fly Away" that closes the disk. These manage to encapsulate some of the qualities that made TAI PHONG darlings of the slow dance in their day. Unfortunately, they criminally re-recorded the one legit hit, "Sister Jane", in a ghastly apparition which sullies its legacy a bit. I mean, have another go at it by all means. But don't call it a "definitive edition", no matter how good you think it is. And it isn't. Apart from the so-so "Last Friend", the rest is perhaps slightly below the level of "Last Flight", which is to say entirely dispensable.

While "Sun" doesn't come close to eclipsing the mid 1970s offerings by TAI PHONG, it does thoroughly avoid casting a shadow on the band's history in the eyes of those who care. 2.5 stars it is, rounded up.

kenethlevine | 3/5 |


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