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Pendragon - The Window Of Life CD (album) cover

THE WINDOW OF LIFE

Pendragon

 

Neo-Prog

3.88 | 340 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Echoes of the past and a vision of the future

Released in late 1993/early 1994, Pendragon's fourth full album "The window of life" sees the band consolidating and refining their neo-prog sound which will remain with them on subsequent albums.

The opening "The walls of Babylon" sets out very much in the vain of Pink Floyd's "Echoes" before the rhythm of Genesis "Watcher of the skies" takes over and Nick Barrett delivers the first vocals. Pendragon have never made any great attempt to disguise their influences and the Gilmour like lead guitar and Banks like keyboards here are as familiar as they are enjoyable. Interestingly, we also get a bit of Supertramp ("Hide in your shell") in the vocal melody as the 10+ minute track takes us through a delightful segue of rhythms and moods.

The 8 minute "Ghosts" which follows is introduced by an unaccompanied piano recital by Clive Nolan, the track later including what sounds like a "Dance on a volcano" (Genesis) reference. The song is lyrically intense, Barrett getting into full flow as the song builds climactically. "Breaking the spell", which runs to over 9 minutes (yes prog this album most definitely is!), sets out as a reflective, slightly downbeat song before Barrett's Floydesque guitar leads the development of a more symphonic sound. Structurally, the song is along the lines of the later "The shadow", and just as enjoyable.

The longest track on the album is the 14 minute "The last man on earth", a two part suite which includes the album's title lyric. Once again, the symphonic structure of the piece is complex yet remarkably easy to listen to. Here there is a Moody Blues like melody in the "I'm never gonna lose your precious heart (love)" vocal line, which reflects a similar line in "Watching and waiting".

The album closes with two relatively shorter songs. "Nostradamus (stargazing)" has the now familiar Gilmour like lead guitar intro backed by orchestral keyboards leading to an upbeat, melodic anthem. "Am I really losing you" is a delicate (keyboards) orchestrated ballad offering a peaceful end to the album. The guitar work here is more along the lines of the weeping guitar of George Harrison, the simple refrain being as effective as it is straightforward.

In all, a magnificent collection of beautifully crafted songs which sit together perfectly. The richness of the sound and unagressive nature of the arrangements results in an album which is easy to listen to, yet which demands repeated listening. Recommended.

Easy Livin | 4/5 |

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