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Collage - Moonshine CD (album) cover





4.03 | 326 ratings

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4 stars If you feel you're getting just about as much as you can out of the more popular Neo Progressive bands--Pendragon, IQ, Arena, and so on--then turn now to Collage (and indeed many other of the lesser-known Neo bands). The song structures on Moonshine are often symphonic in nature, yet the music is obviously Neo-Prog. Epic, multi-instrumental, and filled to the brim with emotional vocals effectively describes Moonshine. What's beautiful about the album in particular is that the song order is very logical and flowing, yet each song has a deep independence and stands by itself.

"Heroes Cry" is the perfect way to begin the album. It packs a huge punch in its mere 6 minutes with a catchy, very heavy, and almost metal keyboard riff impersonating string instruments. "Living in the Moonlight" is brought to life and held together by an innocent keyboard theme with understated keyboard chords and an occasional guitar solo. The three longer songs on Moonshine ("In Your Eyes," "Wings of the Night," and "Moonshine") are all very good. The first is more of an upbeat love song, the second is my favorite with a wondrously brilliant chorus, and the third is a bit jazzier, angrier at times, and has many mood swings, making for an interesting listen. Sometimes, however, the songs don't really warrant their length and would make a bigger impact in a more condensed version.

The final song on the original disc, "War is Over" has become a prime contender for the most listened to song in my collection. It is greatly addictive, has a simple melody witch is easy to latch onto, and also has the best ending of any short song I know of: a rousing, danceable, Irish tune dominated by a mandolin and accordion. It's fun to listen to and adds a bit of light-hearted flavor to the album, which tends to be heavy and dark.

I don't quite feel comfortable giving Moonshine a perfect score, despite the praise I've heaped on it. Though the songs are well-written, catchy and focused, most of them are dark, even when the tune is major-key. The music isn't really depressing, but it's really better suited for nighttime listening or on rainy days, if you buy into that sort of thing. And since I mostly like upbeat music, I have to lower the score a bit. If this doesn't bother you, then that's all the better. Either way, you need to hear Moonshine, a highlight of the Neo Progressive genre.

stonebeard | 4/5 |


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