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Kayak - Merlin CD (album) cover

MERLIN

Kayak

 

Crossover Prog

3.30 | 60 ratings

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ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer
3 stars This Dutch band released quite regular albums so far (almost one every single year since '73). But the first break in their production is almost there...

The band, although never outstanding, was able to release some good prop-pop music (but their debut album really stands out) but more and more the pop angle was taking the lead.

It is quite a surprise to listen to this album. Some kind of mixed bag feeling since the band was proposing half a concept album (with the A-side of the vinyl) and more a conservative approach with the B-side.

I guess everyone knows the "Merlin" story, and there is nothing wrong here with their approach. At times pompous maybe, but not too much ("Merlin"), at times tranquil and somewhat acoustically "Genesis" oriented ("Tintagel"), more neo-prog "avant la lettre" with "The Sword In The Stone" and a definite sound of when they were three.

Here and there some weaknesses as "The King's Enchanter" but since it is the shortest one of the "suite", not too much harm has been done. As usual, the vocals are particularly crafted and moving. One of the best exercise is the beautiful "Niniane". One of the proggiest track of the whole album (together with the opening and title track). A very emotional ballad which also features a moving guitar break. Outstanding.

The second part of the album doesn't show the same strength and is more a collection of average soft-pop ballads ("Seagull", "Now That We've Come This Far"), some attempts to rock a little ("Boogie Heart"). But these songs aren't too attractive for sure. The worse being achieved with the press next "Can't Afford to Lose". Disco beats etc. Poor indeed.

As a whole I rate the album with three stars, but B-side is absolutely not on par. It is maybe wiser to get their live one released in 2003 as Richard already mentioned.

ZowieZiggy | 3/5 |

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