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Renaissance - Turn Of The Cards CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.09 | 592 ratings

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2 stars I'm not fond of Renaissance's music, and this album epitomizes why (well, at least if we stick with the Haslam lineup - I'm not touching that debut). "Pretty," perhaps, quotes intentional, but it does not get its fingers dirty, does not innovate, does not push. This record is a mush of second-rate Rach-inspired piano and mediocre "folksy" melodies. The music is sterile, with the vocals almost completely divorced from the accompaniment, and the musicians sound bored. But, most of all - and this is, I believe, the most serious insult you can level at a prog band - there is little desire to shape and explore the music. Once in a while the band will jump in the water, mostly to spin around some male-on-female (hot hot hot) vocal harmonies, but in the end there is little to the music other than an empty "majesty," quotes again intentional. An airy symphonic theme, followed by some tumbling piano, perhaps sing the theme wordlessly, rinse, repeat.

Things I Don't Understand is probably the most worthy composition here, featuring a strong (if lifeless) melody and plenty of vocal reprise. Unfortunately, said reprise simply collapses into "now we're going to sing this louder" mode with flaccid orchestral accompaniment, and we're back to square one. The melodies are regimented and do not flow, yet they do not feel strict either. Rather, they sound as if they don't mind being there, but won't hesitate to leave your ears alone if you feel like they're bothering you. I Think of You is an even worse offender - an excruciatingly mediocre ballad that loves sending me mixed messages (Are you a prog band or not, Renaissance? You "love me every way / Love me like a friend?" Where the hell do we stand, woman?) Perhaps the least appetizing aspect of this song in particular is Haslam's "soaring" (lots of quotes today) vocals at the end. Yeck. Totally unconvincing.

Also of note is Cold Is Being. The music is surprisingly fine, probably due to being some sort of baroque adaptation (like I know who any of those guys are, plebeian), but I can't help but marvel at its poor adaptation. The vocal lines have an incorrect number of syllables to suit the melody properly - how does a band that considers itself worth its salt make such a blunder, or believe that such a mistake is permissible? It's not even as if they were kept that way due to artistic license...the lyrics there feel as phony as anything else on the album.

This album is not a complete loss, mostly due to the writing (*not* the performance) of many of its vocal melodies and harmonies. However, I cannot in good conscience call it "good," as the three-star rating demands. So, two stars.

Postulate | 2/5 |


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