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Refugee - Refugee CD (album) cover

REFUGEE

Refugee

 

Symphonic Prog

4.10 | 146 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Epignosis
Special Collaborator
Eclectic Prog Team
2 stars Patrick Moraz does a fantastic job bringing freshness to bands. Relayer from Yes, for example, sounds unlike any other Yes album despite having a distinctive Yes sound (something of a paradox, I suppose). And Moraz, taking over for Keith Emerson who left to form ELP, places his stamp on this group, even though the name changed. In fact, this one album practically oozes keyboard, as the other two members just sort of hang around in the backdrop most of the time. Moraz mostly does some interesting and often spectacular keyboard theatrics, making use of a variety of sounds and styles. Unfortunately, this is one pairing that just doesn't ever mesh for me. The drumming is decent, the bass playing lame, and the singing ranges from okay to horrendous. The only outstanding aspect is the keyboard work that dominates the record and some of the (ruined) vocal melodies. I can't say I'm a fan of the overall product.

"Papillon" The opener boasts involved, technically demanding piano and synthesizer work that rivals the best of ELP. Even still, there's an annoying, warbling, buzzing synthesizer thread that's strung through the middle.

"Someday" The first song of the album introduces (or re-introduces) the listener to one of the most irritating voices of progressive rock. Surely Lee Jackson has decent moments, but much of the time, the man uses this whiny, grating, nasally voice that surely cannot be natural! The music is okay, but the vocals are almost too distracting to even pay much attention to it.

"Grand Canyon" Using light synthetic textures, the opening of this extended track reminds me of music from Olias of Sunhillow by Jon Anderson, only with some bass jamming that somewhat robs the beginning of its grand effect. As Brian Davidson works out his snare, Moraz showcases his immense talent and dynamic ability. Abruptly it turns into a classical piano piece that manages to incorporate a bit of jazz. Jackson is inoffensive as a singer when he arrives. Without transition (again), the music turns into quick bites of incoherent organ and drums. What follows is tremendously overindulgent, gaudy, and downright goofy, although after a while, the music takes shape and symphonic splendor returns, albeit briefly.

"Ritt Mickley" Thick, spacey synthesizers begin this one. After it sounds like someone has knocked over everything in the kitchen, a coherent piece of music begins, and it's quite decent, charming in many ways. It's happy, upbeat, full of whimsical keyboard moments, and downright entertaining, even if rhythmically simplistic.

"Credo" The extended finale of the album begins with ominous piano. Indeed, the piano plays a large role; even when handling the background and letting Jackson solo on his swampy-sounding bass, Moraz's fingers are incredibly busy. A church organ interlude interrupts the whole piece close to the middle. Jackson's voice grows increasingly grating, though thankfully is pushed down in the mix in a few places. Too bad, because the vocal melody is quite good most of the time. Overall, "Credo" is needlessly lengthy, basically pasting several unrelated bits together (a common but usually ineffective method of composition in my opinion). Some of those bits are good, and others aren't.

Epignosis | 2/5 |

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