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Renaissance - A Song For All Seasons CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.65 | 330 ratings

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3 stars With Genesis producer David Hentschel and The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra aboard, Renaissance released the intricate, pastoral-sounding A Song For All Seasons. It's the closest they've come to sounding like mid-period Genesis (c. A Trick of the Tail), from the gauzy 12-string guitars and fluid bass lines to the ornate keyboard passages. In a world that now included The Clash, The Sex Pistols and no turning back, A Song For All Seasons is unseasonably outfitted music that better suits the taste of the early '70s. Yet as a result Renaissance, who got lost in the initial wave of progressive artists, were now one of the standard-bearers of the current prog rock movement. Listening to "Kindness (At The End)" or "Day of the Dreamer" is to hear the ghost of Genesis dance again, much as it did in the music of Kansas. While the old English guard was crumbling (ELP, Genesis) or bumbling (Gentle Giant), bands like Renaissance and Marillion kept the English faction afloat alongside the American invasion of would-be proggers (Kansas, Styx, Boston). In fact, you could argue that Renaissance was just hitting their stride in the late Seventies. Songwriters Michael Dunford and Jon Camp had managed to contain a wealth of musical ideas in four- and five-minute songs (although the title track nearly bursts at the seams), a feat that many progressive acts had difficulty matching. The gentle "Back Home Once Again" and melodic "Northern Lights" forego the musical gymnastics without losing the pastoral spirit of the album. They're the more accessible tracks on A Song For All Seasons, but not a good indication of the album's progressive merits. On deeper inspection, the album doesn't boast the musical profundity of a Genesis or Gentle Giant at their best, but if you found Kansas alluring (and maybe a little bombastic) can a rediscovery of Renaissance be far behind?
daveconn | 3/5 |


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