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Renaissance

 

Symphonic Prog

2.31 | 85 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Joolz
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars A new start, or the beginning of the end? Well, a bit of both really. Tout and Sullivan have gone, and with them many of the elements that had made the old Renaissance so good. While a few remnants remain, this new incarnation is fundamentally an AOR outfit with a worrying tendency to dabble in new-wave pop. Some of it is damn good actually, but it is hard to understand how the melodic genius of Michael Dunford could create an abomination such as the frankly awful Jigsaw which has no redeeming features that I can find.

Most of the album hovers between 'OK' and 'quite good really' in the straightforward, keyboard-dominated muscular AOR vein that a number of old Prog bands would investigate during the 1980s. Only Bonjour Swansong sounds much like the old band while Running Away From You and its squelchy new-wave synths is about as far away as you can get from Mother Russia! Okichi-San is promising with a loping rhythm and inventive vocal arrangement but never really takes off into orbit, while Ukraine Ways is by far the most complex and exciting arrangement spoilt somewhat by a poor melody. That's the rub - there is always a 'but' associated with any description of these songs.

So, not Renaissance as-we-know-it-Jim and there is little here to interest anyone on a Prog site other than a band devotee. Annie Haslam is, of course, the most obvious connection with past glories, but even she fails to cope satisfactorily with several songs, the purity of her trained voice quite incongruous in some of the settings. Her new-fangled vocal gymnastics are also an acquired taste. Overall, OK for an occasional airing, but, other than the excellent Ukraine Ways, don't expect much movement on the prog-o-meter!

Joolz | 2/5 |

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