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Pendragon - Saved By You CD (album) cover





2.52 | 27 ratings

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3 stars Saved By You is a significant Pendragon release because it marks the end of their 1980s era. From the original Fly High Fall Far EP onwards, Pendragon had consistently been gunning for widespread commercial success by offering a balance of poppier tracks and more neoprog-oriented numbers.

Their EPs and singles had tended towards the poppier end of their sound, The Jewel and 9:15 Live dialled the prog side of things up, and Kowtow attempted to find a balance between the two - especially when later issues of Kowtow tacked the title track from this EP on at the start of the running order.

That opening number is one of the most upbeat pop anthems in the Pendragon catalogue - and it was also pretty much their last song in that particular compositional vein. You wouldn't think it to look at the rather humble artwork on the cover here, but this EP doesn't just mark the end of a decade, but it also marks the last gasp of the band's juggling of pop and prog.

Before this EP, the Kowtow album represented their last-ditch attempt to get the interest of a major record label - originating, as it did, as a demo tape for EMI, and then after the label rejected it the band made it the first release on their independent Toff Records label. And after this EP the next release from the band would be The World, which would see them reconfigure their sound, embrace a more prog-oriented approach (albeit targeted at the more melodic and accessible end of prog), and attain substantially greater long-term success as a result of the artistic path that led on from that than they ever did with their pop efforts.

What do we have to listen to here, then, at the tail end of their flirtation with melodic pop-rock? Well, the title track is a simple and endearing enough anthem, Lady Luck is rather forgettable, Chase the Jewel is the most vivid taste of their 1980s prog sound that this EP has to offer, and Elephants Never Grow Old is a pleasantly inoffensive closing number. I wouldn't say that the material here is terrible and if you're fond of early Pendragon, you might enjoy this - especially if you find their attempts at pop endearing rather than cringe-inducing. But at the end of the day, it's a release more notable for the musical transition it heralded than the actual music contained on it.

Warthur | 3/5 |


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