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Saga - Images At Twilight CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.19 | 221 ratings

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2 stars The second Saga album suffers a bit from the sophomore jinx in that there isn’t anything really new or even particularly interesting over the first release. But these guys have never exactly been known for innovation or deep-thinking music anyway, so the letdown is a rather soft one.

Michael Sadler’s voice is one that fans may have become accustomed to, but to me it has a very affected quality to it that borders on awkward. Also, the lyrics here are pretty light, with heavily repetitive verse structures that seemed to be pretty prevalent in both ‘artsy’ and pop music of the early 80s.

The first installment of the multi-album chapter series begins on this album with “Images” and its sketch of a man down on his luck and apparently reflecting back on his run of bad luck (or bad choices):

“None remain, not the friends or possessions - who's to blame? With all those good intentions one picture did remain - a face that had his name. A body lies, no pain, under blankets of warm rain.”

Chapter Three is here also, and opens the album actually with the slightly schizoid “It’s Time”, but we have to wait for the next album to get chapter two which tells of the man rushing down dark wet streets to some sort of prophetic appointment. This whole chapter thing was (at the time) a clever way to try and keep listeners interested and buying records, but it all seems a bit hackneyed today.

Back to “Images” – this is probably the most interesting composition with its extended instrumental passage and ethereal vocal passages. “Mouse in a Maze” also has its moments with a tight bass line and a pretty catchy rhythm, although it comes on the heels of “Hot to Cold” which suffers from just about every early 80s trite composition ill possible – repetitive lyrics, monotonous keyboard riffs, and gauche vocals.

Twenty-five years ago I really thought this was a clever album, and was admittedly attracted largely to the very excellent cover art and the presence of the band’s videos on MTV, as well as the heavy use of keyboards and Moog synthesizers. Today the album comes off as rather trite, and just doesn’t hold up over the space of the years. The band would demonstrate an impressive staying power and attract a pretty loyal following over the subsequent two and a half decades. They would eventually refine their sound and emerge as a sort of respected older sibling of the neo-progressive and related bands, but this particular album was early, somewhat rough, and not their finest moment. Collectors and fans undoubtedly cherish it, but most newcomers to the Saga sound aren’t likely to find it too appealing. Two stars.


ClemofNazareth | 2/5 |


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