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Renaissance - Novella CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.75 | 399 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

3 stars Novella is certainly not as original as their previous albums, but that, by no means, implies an general drop in quality. The production is impecable, the band is precise, the piano and vocals, as usual, superb and, most important, most of the songs themselves are excellent, with beauty and variety. That is particularly true to the first side of the old LP: Can You Hear Me? and The Sisters.

In fact, Novella does indeed have a distinctive feature: the (acoustic) guitar work is much more evident then in the previous albums, even though the more symphonic songs (the opener and the closer) are still structured around piano and orchestra.

Can You Hear Me? is an excellent opener, an worthy sucessor of Renaissance's epic songs.

The Sisters is spanish flavoured, with spanish guitars and a dramatic interpretation from Annie. It is very distinct to everything the band had done before, and, most important, it works. Great song.

Yet, there are some hints of worse things to come. Midas Man also has prominent guitars, but also, less auspiciously, some synths. It points to the shift in the sound of the band - which is, is this case, not a good omen. The weakest song from the album, though it indeed became a standard for the band - probably because its length made it more radio friendly. To my ears, it's just pop rubbish - including the somewhat embarassing lyrics.

The Captive Heart, ont the other hand, compensates. It is simply beauty. A delicate ballad, with the traditional piano-and-voice structure that goes back to Prologue. It may not be exactly original, but it is not less beautiful for that reason.

The album closes with another epic, Touching Once (Is So Hard to Keep). Less impressive and remarkable than the opening track, but still a good song.

So, in the end, there is one flop (Midas Man) and another good yet derivative song (Touching Once...). The highlights are three out of five. not a bad percentage. But, I guess, there are really no major distinctive features to justify a 4-star rating, despite the more prominent sound of acoustic guitars. So, even though I like (and recommend) a lot side A, I think 3 stars is a fair rating.

bfmuller | 3/5 |


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