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Renaissance - Time-Line  CD (album) cover

TIME-LINE

Renaissance

 

Symphonic Prog

1.64 | 82 ratings

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ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk Researcher
1 stars 'Time-Line' essentially marked the end of the line for Renaissance as a viable band. The core trio of Annie Haslam, guitarist Michael Dunford and bassist Jon Camp were all that remained following a poorly-received 'Camera Camera' in 1981 that featured keyboardist Peter Gosling and drummer Peter Barron. Both of them also show up on this album but not as official band members; in fact, the liner notes on the CD version specifically list the band as consisting of Haslam, Dunford and Camp alone. And neither Gosling nor Barron play on the entire album, Renaissance having augmented them with a couple brass instruments and at least two other keyboardists including Nick Magnus, formerly of the Enid and Autumn as well as Steve Hackett's band.

These songs are pretty much all written by Jon Camp, who had been gradually assuming the songwriting role since their 1979 release 'Azure d'Or'. Dunford is credited with several instrumental arrangements but the lyrics are all Camp, Betty Thatcher having signed off with the band following their prior album 'Camera Camera'. The music is decidedly eighties fare, with dance beats, shallow synthesized keyboards for the most part, and rather vapid lyrics. The first several tunes including "Flight", "Missing Persons" and "Chagrin Boulevard" all seem to have vague themes of rocky personal relationships and general angst, while "Richard IX" is easily the shallowest piece of schlock the band ever recorded, followed closely by the lackluster "Majik".

The lyrics get a bit better as the album wears on, or at least are better suited to Haslam's wide-ranging vocal talents. Musically the entire record seems to be an almost embarrassing attempt to garner some radio play and probably a bit of MTV rotation as well. At least Camp manages a few clever bass riffs, especially on "Orient Express" and the Gary- Numan-meets-Georgio-Moroder "Auto-Tech" to close the album.

The band was pretty much ready to pack it in at this point, or at least they should have been. Jon Camp would depart shortly after the supporting tour and Haslam and Dunford would soldier on for a couple more years with a revolving touring lineup but no record contract. By the late eighties even that venture would peter out with both Haslam and Dunford moving on to field their own respective versions of Renaissance while their minders and former labels began the process of cranking out retrospectives, compilations and old live recordings. The Mk II lineup of the band (minus Camp) would reunite for a respectable release ('Tuscany') a decade later, but for the time being this would be the weak ending for what was once a formidable musical entity. I'm tempted to at least give this two stars but given what the band should have been capable of even in their weakened state I have to say that this one only deserves a single star and no recommendation at all.

peace

ClemofNazareth | 1/5 |

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