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Saga - Scratchin' the Surface CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

2.87 | 4 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars As the cover art alone surely immediately reveals to those familiar with Saga, this single is an outtake from the Canadian band's fifth album Heads Or Tales (1983). It's usually regarded as the first one to be more pop than prog, but I'd like to think it closes their classic era, not only because the song material is stronger than on its followers, but partly for subjective reasons also: Heads Or Tales, like two other Saga albums, was among my big brother's vinyls when I was in my early teens, so there's the nostalgia factor. And of course it has much better cover design compared to e.g. Behaviour (1985) or Wildest Dreams (1987).

'Scratchin' the Surface' is closest to a ballad on that album, sung rather tenderly by keyboardist Jim Gilmour instead of Michael Sadler, who handles the suitably powerful chorus. Mostly because of that dual nature of the song I like it quite a lot, even though it's not as interesting as the band's finest [earlier] songs. Some time ago, after listening to the album first time for years, I had this song playing in my head when I was slowly waking up from sleep, and it felt surprisingly nice, so I let it linger in my mind while biking to work.

The B side track 'Sound of Strangers' is also taken from Heads Or Tales. It's a bit duller pop-rock song, but some details in the typically keyboard-oriented arrangement save it from being a bore. 2 stars rounded up for the nice sleeve.

Matti | 3/5 |


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