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Renaissance - Illusion CD (album) cover

ILLUSION

Renaissance

 

Symphonic Prog

3.09 | 252 ratings

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bfmuller
2 stars As with their debut album, the songs in Illusion are mostly piano guided music that flirts with jazz and classical. So far, it only means that the band has a style of its own. The problem is that Illusion suffers even further from two apparent opposite faults that the former album also presented: sometimes it lacks cohesion, and sometimes it sounds repetitive. There are pop songs that seem completely out of place and songs divided in parts that does not communicate well with each other. Whatever trend they follow, they seem to repeat patterns and formulae estabilished before.

Tracks 1 and 3 are so similar that one could say they are, for all effects, pretty much the same song. And not exactly a great song. One that reminds me of I Feel Free, from Cream, not coincidentally a band from another former Yardbird. Something of a vocal jazz that seem completely unfitting with the remainder of the songs. In between, The Golden Thread opens in a piano line that could fit perfectly on Prologue or Ashes Are Burning. Around the second minute, the song changes to the soulful style with haunting qualities that we are familiarized with through Island, from the debut album.

Track 4, Mr. Pine, is another perfect example of a piece that sounds like a collage rather than a song. It starts with some baroque keyboard that suddenly splits into a jam session interlude before returning to the main theme - but nothing like the elegance and fluidity that we might see, for instance, in Have You Heard/The Voyage, from The Moody Blues. The interlude, by the way, introduces a keyboard line that would lately be recovered by the second Renaissance on Running Hard, from Turn of the Cards.

And then, track 5 is yet another psychedelic-soul pop song that repeats even the vocalization style of Island and Golden Thread.

The closing track is a traditional rock and roll song extended by jamming. Its combination of guitar and organ even reminds me of The Allman Brothers Band (light years away from prog rock, then). But not as good as them. The highlight of the album, in my opinion, which is pretty depressing, because it is not really anything special. Towards the end, yet another line (guitar, this time) that would resurface in a Renaissance II song (Rajah Khan, from Prologue).

Far too much repetitive and torn apart, Illusion isn't really appealing to anyone but those hooked by their first album or others simply curious to check out what the first Renaissance was all about. In any way, most of us will agree that it is inferior to its predecessor, simply put it, because its less imaginative and uninspired. Renaissance (the 1969 album), might be charming, but this one is merely a curiosity.

bfmuller | 2/5 |

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