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Fantasy - Paint A Picture CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.38 | 123 ratings

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Psychedelic Paul
5 stars The five-piece English band Fantasy released their fittingly-titled debut album "Paint a Picture" in 1973. The album displays beautiful symphonic soundscapes of dramatic complexity, featuring charming organ and elaborate Mellotron melodies to make a masterpiece album of the era. The album featured seven bonus tracks in the re-mastered CD version released in 2005. "Paint a Picture" passed by virtually unnoticed at the time of its release, which is a shame, considering it's a beautifully-produced album which deserves far more recognition than it's received. The album is so uplifting and inspirational to listen to that it could almost belong in the religious section of a record store. Fantasy followed it up with an equally good album in 1974 titled "Beyond the Beyond" which wouldn't see general release for another 18 years. Their third and final album "Vivariatum" (1994) was up to a similarly high standard of musicianship and all three albums should appeal greatly to fans of early Genesis.

The album opens in dramatic style with the title track "Paint a Picture". The song features the magnificent distant-sounding rock organ, together with emotionally uplifting vocals and a gently rising crescendo of sound which puts the listener in an ebullient mood and makes a perfect introduction to what is a marvellous album. The second song on the album "Circus" continues in considerable style with some echoey-sounding vocals, intricate guitar playing and powerful drumming backed by the beautiful symphonic sound of the Mellotron. Track 3 "The Award" features plaintive-sounding vocals combined with a gentle melody which gathers in intensity as the song progresses. The song is another memorable addition to a fine album. Track 4 "Politely Insane" is an upbeat and uptempo number which chugs along joyfully at an impressive pace with some strident guitar chords. In a pleasant contrast of style, the next song "Widow" is a brief, gently melodic lament, as the song title implies, and nicely fits into the album as a whole. Track 6 "Icy River" is another memorable number with plenty to keep the listener entertained, including heavenly vocals, the ever-present sound of the powerful rock organ and some skilful and melodic guitar leads. Track 7 "Thank Christ" continues in similar fashion with a feel-good, uplifting sound and featuring some stylish vocal harmonies. Track 8 "Young Man's Fortune" is a real powerhouse of a song, featuring a throbbing rhythm section and sonorous organ playing. The album returns to a mellower mood in the first half of the penultimate number "Goblin Song", coming to life in marvellously-uplifting style for the finale. The final song "Silent Mine" features a religious-sounding organ combined with ethereal vocals to produce a very memorable conclusion to a superb album as a whole.

This melodic masterpiece of an album deserves pride of place in any Prog-Rock enthusiast's music collection. It's an album of contrasting styles which never fail's to maintain the listener's interest. A classic example of early-1970's English Symphonic Prog at its best.

Psychedelic Paul | 5/5 |


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