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Fantasy - Paint A Picture CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.38 | 123 ratings

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4 stars Fantasy were a group whose history is enough to make even those familiar with record company problems, evil producers, tragic occurences (their original guitarist Bob Vann was killed on his 18th birthday!), and later on an outrageously expensive price tag for a not well promoted album cringe. Still, the group managed to record enough material for two albums, and Paint A Picture was the one officially or semi officially I would say released at the time. This really is a wonderful album, full of song oriented melodic symphonic progressive rock with psychedelic overtones and fine musicianship from all five band members. Centered around the writing team of singer/12 string guitarist Paul Lawrence, keyboard player David Metcalfe, and bassist Dave Read the group also had a really distinctive guitar sound thanks to Pete James so don't expect this to be an all keyboard no guitar affair. I would strongly reccommend this record to anyone who loves or even just likes not just progressive rock, but the British melodic rock early 70s groups too. I will give a song by song analysis here: 1. "Paint A Picture" A great opening track, beginning with a gothic and haunting melody, Bowie esque vocals, and then into gentle soaring harmonies. The song builds up into some impressive instrumental passages and a dream like ancient English quality that is charming. Great. 2, "Circus" Probably my favourite track here. A song that goes through many changes with some astonishing guitar work, very beautiful laid back vocals, and some really rocking passages towards the end where the song seems like the ultimate epic and it's not even that long a track. The surreal lyrics don't seem to deal with a circus of any kind, but instead they are very personal and hint at a deep meaning that is more easily experienced in the music. 3. "The Award" (For Bob) This was written for their tragically killed original guitarist Bob Vann, but again the words are a bit opaque and have a relaxed poetic nature also found in the music which is very similar to David Bowie around the Hunky Dory period. A quite intriguing and surprisingly uplifting number. 4. "Politely Insane" Brass arrangement augments Fantasy on a song they were forced to record. Not a bad song though, in fact pretty good. 5 "Widow" Short, mournful, depressed track with a beautiful haunting cello and lyrics about a war that destroys an entire generation. Side Two is harder to go song by song, maybe because it really comes alive here and becomes a truly brilliant synthesis of progressive, psych, and melodic pop. This album is excellent, full of great songs, vocals, and playing. I would say though to do what I've done and find the old German reissue which sounds miles better than the Korean Si Wan reissue which frankly, sounds terrible.
| 4/5 |


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