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Saga - Steel Umbrellas CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

2.09 | 93 ratings

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Saga is one of those elusive long-time progressive rock bands that I never knew about until the past few years, but once I finally discovered them I was hooked. I have heard Saga described as Rush's little brother, and maybe there are some similarities, but I think that the similarities stop at being Canadian progressive hard rock bands. At the time that I type this review, Saga are currently classified as prog-related. In my opinion, they have released a number of albums that are fine examples of crossover prog. Steel Umbrellas is not one of those albums. Steel Umbrellas is one of those albums that makes you look at the line-up list to see which key members were replaced by who. Sadly, unlike some of the other long-time prog bands, there were no changes in personnel and this album is the result of the work of all of the core members of Saga. Saga were never the kind of progressive rock band that are going to amaze you with their innovative playing or ground breaking sounds, but they are the kind of progressive rock band that were good at producing really good melodic songs with the inclusion of progressive touches scattered throughout most of their songs. On Steel Umbrellas, there is hardly a touch of that progressive rock sound to be found. The drumming is decent, but it seems as though the same beat rarely changes within a song. A few decent guitar riffs are found here and there but it is mostly unmemorable. Even the keyboard playing is lacking on this album.

Alright, now that I got that out of the way and off of my chest, Steel Umbrellas is still a decent pop album, that many artists would be lucky to be able to create. Why Not is probably the pick of the litter of this album with some decent drumming and guitar work. The next best songs are probably Shake That Tree and Password Pirate, which has a little bit of quirkiness to it. Songs like (You We're) Never Alone, I Walk With You, and Say Goodbye to Hollywood are all decent sounding slower songs/ballads. Musically, very little interesting happens within these songs, but the melodies and the sentiments are nice. Lastly, the song Steamroller is somewhat interesting musically as it is a bit funky and includes some horns on it. Unfortunately, it also includes some of the worst lyrics ever. I want you to remember me, so rub my bumper nice and clean, if it's good for you, it's good for me. Don't you want to ride a... Steamroller. Like, ewww, no. Not even David Lee Roth tried to pull off words this bad.

This is one of those albums that teeters between being 1 star or 2 stars. I guess that it isn't poor per se, but it also isn't that good, so that would lead me to give it 2 stars. I'd say that fans of Saga might be like me and be OK with this album. On the other hand, non-Saga fans who are also prog rock fans will probably want to definitely stay away from this one.

Thankfully, Saga came back the following year with their concept album Generation 13, which quite possibly might be their best and most progressive work.

rushfan4 | 2/5 |


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