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Fantasy - Paint A Picture CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.38 | 123 ratings

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3 stars Another band from the seventies era that I only knew recently from a friend of mine who knew the band in the seventies. As this was released in 1973, the only connection I can make is that by that time Genesis had already released 'Foxtrot' and at the same time of Fantasy debut, Genesis also released 'Selling England By The Pound'. And talking about Yes, they already released 'Close To The Edge' a year in advance and 'Tales From Topographic Ocean' was released at the same time with Fantasy's debut. Nope! I am not trying to make a connection between Fantasy and Genesis nor Fantasy and Yes in terms of music style as they are NOT alike. My point is pretty simple: what would I think about Fantasy 'Paint A Picture' when I knew it in 1973 and at that time I had already been familiar with Genesis, Yes, King Crimson, Gentle Giant, ELP? Well of course I would not consider this 'Paint A Picture' at par excellent as 'Selling England By The Pound' or 'Tales From Topographic'. Worse, maybe I was not interested at all with the music as the composition is so simple and nothing as complex as 'Supper's Ready' or 'The Battel of Epping Forest' or 'The Ancient'. See my point?

Well, I need to make that connection because I am afraid if I only make a review of this 1973 album that I knew only in recent years, I would tend to rate it higher to compensate my 'mistake' for not knowing the band for such a long time. I also want to avoid the 'halo effect' because of the feeling of peacefulness enjoying vintage record like this.

Composition-wise, nothing really spells out from this debut album of Fantasy. Each composition revolves around song approach where the music was most likely composed on top of previously written melody as typically pop song. In fact there are many pop elements in the music even though the music is much more to psychedelic prog. I may refer the music is in the vein of Procol Harum even though they are not precisely the same. But don't get me wrong, I do enjoy spinning this album especially with its vintage sound and simple composition. All of the ten tracks provided here have good to excellent melody as this is a song-orientated album.

The opening track 'Paint A Picture' (5:24) lays down the overall tone of the album nicely with an atmospheric opening using long sustain keyboard as background of vocals. It moves in soft to medium tempo. The key of the song is on vocal harmonies backed with long sustain organ / keyboard work. The electric guitar sometimes provide its solo. It's a psychedelic music, really. 'Circus' (6:18) is a nicely composed track with bass guitar providing the role of beet keeper combined with drums. The electric and acoustic guitar become a rhythm section that overlays keyboard sound. The interlude of the song is nice, exploring organ work backed with solid bassline and electric guitar fills. 'The Award' (4:52) brings the music back to mellow style with nice guitar work. The tempo is slow to medium. 'Politely Insane' (3:27) sounds like an unfinished pop song.

'Widow' (2:12) is a nice mellow track with catchy melodies and very nice acoustic guitar work accompanying vocal line. 'Icy River' (5:53) brings the music into much upbeat style at the opening part followed with a break using acoustic guitar work and organ sound. 'Thank Christ' (4:06) sounds like a ballad. 'Young Man's Fortune' (3:41) brings the music in upbeat mode with organ and guitar as main instruments on top of solid basslines. 'Gnome Song' (4:19) is a nicely composed song in dark nuance using a combination of piano and catchy acoustic guitar work accompanying the vocal line. The acoustic guitar work is excellent. The album concludes nicely with an ambient organ work that remarks the intro of 'Silent Mine' (4:39). The concluding track is an organ-driven composition.

Overall, this is a good album and will favor you if you really love vintage music. Composition-wise there is no complex track offered here, but I am sure you would enjoy the album. Keep on proggin' .....!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Gatot | 3/5 |


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