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Twelfth Night


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5 stars This album is a very good "best of", and it's the first edition on CD for songs like 'Blue Powder Monkey', 'Take a look' (a great introduction) and 'Last song'. These are evidences of Andy Sears quality on vocals. There's a new version of 'Love song' different than 'Fact and Fiction' album's version. But the jewel is 'The Collector', a 19 minute piece with Geoff Mann theatrical lyrics at their greatest, the 6-string bass guitar played by Clive Mitten is the finest that i've ever heard and this track is probably the best neo-progressive epic song (far better than Marillion's Grendel). It's a "must-have", so, get it and listen in loops !
Report this review (#7467)
Posted Thursday, March 11, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars If ever a band deserved success it was readings Twelfth Night and this collection goes some way to provide the evidence. Its a compilation album that features unreleased tracks and new recordings.

Like the live album Live and let Live it starts with The Ceiling Speaksa religousprog epic, the chorus is infectious and the playing is simply stunning.

Deep in The Heartland follows an unreleased track that would undergo several changes during its life, here is the 1983 version complete with Geoffs scream.

We are Sane follows, a pure brilliant track that deals with political intrigue, not for Twelfth Night songs about dragons, magicians or mythical Grendal creatures, they dealt with the issues of the day, the cold war, political machinery.

The next song art and illusion sees Andy Sears as vocalist and although he sings it well it is Geoff mann's lyrics.

Andy gets to write First new day a hearfelt somng raging against war, famine and poverty... played simply it shows that every song does not need a million notes.

Take a Look, is the single Virgin (shame on them) failed to push, here we have the full length version and it is stunning a neo-prog (awful term) classic.

Blondon Fair, follows on from last Song and again Twelfth Night do not shy away from dealing with issues and Andy sings a harrowing tale of the holocaust.

twelfth Night split up but regrouped with Geoff on vocals to record The Collector, it is a classic and epic and again the lyrics deal with Geoff's Christian faith!

Th final song is a re-recording of Love Song and my personal favourite as Geoff implores us to forgive and love again.

...and thats it from start to finish delicate and frenetic playing merge to provide distinct songs that deserve a wider audience..... and not only this on the Cd available you don't even get Sequences or Creepshow or Blue Powder Monkey they are classics that you can find on the other Twelfth Night Cds.

Report this review (#7469)
Posted Sunday, August 8, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars As I was reading the reviews I thought, those numbers...that's not how I remember them, not in that sequence. And there is a word for you. I've got a release with the number Sequences. So I started looking at the website and there it was. They released the cd several times. The one in my cd collection is the first release...

1..We are sane 2..Sequences 3..Art and illusion 4..First new day 5..Take a look 6..Blondon fair 7..The collector 8..Love song

So for the real collector there is a challange. But this one is oke for me. If you like to know what kind of music they play, just look at the bottom at the other artists and you know. It's the fore father of Marillion, Iq, Pendragon. For a prog-music lover it is one to have. But when jou just start to enjoy this music it may sound a little old. Anyway I like it enough, so enjoy....

Report this review (#57105)
Posted Sunday, November 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars It's usually a bad sign when an album starts off with a song that just turns you off vocally. Geoff Mann's vocals are so off in the beginning of the song it gets in the way. It also doesn't help when the song is a chaotic mess going from Pallas like rock, to Marillion, to some really bizarre kiddie-like vocalizing 6 minutes in. It's really a hodgepodge and not very good, but hey this is a compilation of an obscure 80's Neo band so I guess it's got a mountain to climb to reach "A" status. Track two, "Sequences" calms thing down a bit, but not very much. It still sounds like a bizarre Marillion mix with Pallas and a tiny bit of mid- period Genesis. Trust me though, it doesn't get close to being as good as those bands. Geoff's vocals are at least tolerable, and there's some nice guitar wankering but it's never memorable. Andy Sears sings tracks 3 to 6 and also #8 and he's definately an improvement. He has a Fish style and the songs are bouncy with a serious Marillion fixation with the first song he sings, "Art And Illusion". "First New Day" has a new romantic sound harkening to the band Ultravox, very mysterious and moody. My favorite song is track 6, "Blondon Fair" an IQ type song mixed with a bit of Peter Gabriel's solo sound. I wish they stuck with this style, a unique song for sure. The best Geoff Mann song without a doubt is the 19 minute epic "The Collector". Here he doesn't go off the wall with his voice as he did on earlier tracks. Musically it's the most progressive with tasty IQ tempo changes and very well played keyboards. It's the only reason to buy this disc, (although 4 minutes in Mann tries once again with some weird vocalizations...UGH!). The last track is a throwaway pop love song. For Neo fans, it might possibly rate 3 stars. But in all honesty it's mainly for fans of the band who must have everything the band put out, nice booklet not withstanding.
Report this review (#93418)
Posted Wednesday, October 4, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is a good collection of Twelfth Night's work, show-casing the talents and very different styles of Geoff Mann and Andy Sears. Geoff Mann was one of the greatest lyricists and performers on the neo-progressive scene. His approach was not to everyone's taste but then the same can be said of the forced vocal styles of Peter Hammill (who is the undoubted king of the atmospheric, emotion drenched vocal), Peter Gabriel and Peter Nicholls - strange bit of synchronicity that, all those Peters! - and of course Fish.

Anyway, Twelfth Night defy comparison with their contemporaries so avoid any preconceptions and let this one stand on its own merits. I don't think you'll be disappointed by it. The track listing depends on the release you have and there were several (check out for details) but particularly noteworthy tracks are...well, all of them ;-)

But seriously, on my Food For Thought CD release, I consider the best tracks to be We Are Sane - very progressive and made up of three distinct segments - dealing with technology as a means of mind control; Sequences - the futility of war; Art & Illusion - an up-tempo and short by TN standards rocker about how we use trickery and sleight of hand to decieve one another; and, of course, Take A Look - Andy Sears frightening vision of technology gone haywire.

Other ones to note (depending on release) are Blondon Fair, The Ceiling Speaks, and Love Song - all very different and hard to pigeonhole - why do we have to categorize everything anyway?

Anyway, as this is a compilation, I'll only give it 4 stars even though TN are one of my favourite bands but I still recommend it as a worthy retrospective. If you want a 5 star album by TN, get Live And Let Live which really showcases the brilliance of Geoff Mann as a vocal performer.

Report this review (#93441)
Posted Thursday, October 5, 2006 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars This is a great way to become acquainted with the band TWELFTH NIGHT, who along with MARILLION and IQ really helped keep prog going in the eighties.This is really a panoramic look at their career, Andy Sears is vocalist on half the tracks and of course the amazing Geoff Mann does the vocals on the other five songs.The first two songs are from 1983 and "The Ceiling Speaks" is the better track by far, a very catchy uptempo tune with terrific keyboard passages and the wondrous vocals of Geoff. Great lyrics on the 1982 song "We Are Sane" that features a lot of time changes and I like the way the vocals change 2 minutes into the song.Some good guitar, synth melodies. Andy sings on the two 1984 songs "Art And Illusion" that is as catchy as hell, and "First New Day" a slower song with very meaningful lyrics. Songs 6-8 are from 1986 and Andy delivers emotional vocals on "Take a Look". "Last Song" is an upbeat song that features drums with light riffs and more good guitar. Another highlight for me is "Blondon Fair" with theatrical vocals courtesy of Andy, and some great riffs and spacey synths.The next two songs are from 1990."The Collector" has Geoff on vocals for this 19 minute song. And the vocals are incredible, as is the guitar work after the 13 minute mark. "Love Song" may have the most meaningful and true lyrics ever written. Heart breakingly beautiful ! Highly recommended album from TWELFTH NIGHT.
Report this review (#98366)
Posted Saturday, November 11, 2006 | Review Permalink
Cesar Inca
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Any of both editions of this Twelfth Night compilation "Collector's Item" (and I think I've read somewhere that there was a double release or something like that. well, maybe I'm wrong) is a proper introduction to most part of the essential back catalogue of the band, in case one doesn't dare or doesn't have the chance to purchase any of the original albums. The latter was my particular personal case (regarding the edition with 'Sequences' in it), and let me tell you that this "Collector's Item" was such a prog pleasure for me while Fate was yet to put 'Fact and Fiction' in my hands. Aware of the pioneering role that TN had fulfilled during the prelude to and dawn of the British new wave of symphonic rock (even predating and inspiring the earlier compositions by IQ, Marillion and, perhaps, Pallas), the Geoff Mann-era songs comprised here revealed a powerful mixture of musical ambition and post-punk urgency within a consistent progressive work frame, plus some techno-pop friendly sensibilities settled in among the Mini-Moog leads, organ emulating synths and Gilmour-meets-Latimer guitar solos. 'We Are Sane' incarnates the myth of Mann's abundantly theatrical singing, extended instrumental excursions and clear melodic ideas instilled with energetic dynamics. The same goes for 'Sequences', a whole 16+ minute epic that regrettably never met its studio version, but live renditions take account of its amazing combination of stamina, drama and pomposity. This anti-war track can easily be described as the missing link between Genesis' 'Epping Forest' and IQ's 'Human Gateway'. The 'Hurry lads' portion is an incredible exhibition of rocking power in a bizarre mixture of Psychedelic Furs and Di'Anno-era Iron Maiden - go figure! The longest epic is the one recorded during the brief Mann-era reunion in the late 80s: 'The Collector' is perhaps the best TN epic ever. and it also suffered from having an official studio version until the recording of a couple of bonus tracks for this compilation. The succession of motifs is coherent, with a linkage of climaxes and more constrained interludes that proves quite effective: Mann's commitment to dreams for a better world from his Christian faith is properly delivered in the final paragraph, concerning the importance of the one thing that is not for sale (Heaven) as opposed to the vanity of purchasable things. 19 minutes of pure symphonic glory, be it classic, neo o retro - at this point, it doesn't matter. The other bonus recorded by the Mann-era reunited line-up (it wouldn't take many years before Mann eventually succumbed to cancer) is a new studio installment of TN's pacifist anthem 'Love Song', with a better sound production and the addition of some extra nuances, compared to the original "Fact and Fiction" album. The Andy Sears era is also well represented: there is the purely neo 'Art and Illusion', the architectural epic 'Take a Look', as well as the eerie new-romantic friendly moods of 'Brand New Day' and 'Blondon Fair'. If 80s Genesis was so determined to become a pop-rock band, these latter two tracks represent the right aim to their quest, not what they did in those embarrassingly Genesis-entitled releases. Anyway, let's not get out of focus. The other "Collector's Item" edition sacrifices 'Sequences' for 'The Ceiling Speaks' and 'Deep on the Heartland'. The former is one of the last songs recorded (and not included in a proper album) with Mann still as a frontman, and boy, what a great song it is: in few occasions like this can the massage of Christianity be translated into rock in such an exciting fashion. The moderately complex rhythm structures, the punchy dual guitars and the coherent vibe of this song easily equal the stamina of IQ's 'Awake and Nervous' or the colorful power of Marillion's 'The Web'. A great product of a restless era of new progressive rock, just like 'The Collector' and 'Sequences'. These three tracks alone make any of the "Collector's Item" editions a valid item in any good prog collection.
Report this review (#182354)
Posted Saturday, September 13, 2008 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
Crossover Prog Team
5 stars There are plans to re-release much Twelfth Night material over the next few months, and Cyclops have started with this reissue of the 1991 compilation. The original release saw not only previously available TN masterpieces, but also the classic line-up recording the epic "The Collector" and a new version of "Love Song". To have these two songs alone made the collection a 'must have' for the hardened fan, so why go out ten years later and get the album again?

Originally the compilation started with "Sequences" from the 'Live And Let Live' album. Rightfully viewed as one of their finest pieces, this most visual of songs dealt with a soldier's life in the First World War. Cyclops have already reissued that album, and have dropped the song from this reissue. This has given them a lot of room, and they have replaced it with three other songs.

A Twelfth Night gig started with "The Ceiling Speaks", with both Clive Mitten and Andy Revell providing guitars ? there was no room for bass. Like many TN fans I never thought that a studio recording had been made, but I was wrong!! It was one of four songs recorded in a session for MGM in 1983. This version doesn't capture the raw energy, but it comes pretty close. Next up is "Deep In The Heartland" from the same recordings. Historically this is interesting for the fan as it was reworked to become "Not On The Map" which in turn became "Blondon Fair" (which is also on this release). The other 'new' song is "Last Song", which appears on CD for the first time.

What can be said about the other songs? How can anyone not listen to the power and majesty of "We Are Sane", one of the most epic of songs dealing with control of individual. "Art and Illusion" is the bubbly riposte to the previous more thoughtful number, with Andy Sears making his first appearance. The album starts with Geoff's songs, then into Andy, but finishing with the new recordings featuring Geoff. Unlike Genesis, there isn't such a huge musical shift between the two versions of the band but many fans still favour the Mann.

"The Collector" is one their longest studio recordings, at just over nineteen minutes, and to me epitomises all that was great about the band. Musically it hits many differing areas, and Geoff stretches himself both vocally and lyrically. It has to be one of the longest and most complex Christian songs ever released. And as the gig started with "The Ceiling Speaks", so it always ended with "Love Song". A song that is so full of passion that I can never fail to be moved emotionally when I hear it.

Even before I received the reissue this was an album that I have been playing regularly since its' initial release. The new tracks make it an even better collection and along with 'Live And Let Live' should be in every proghead's collection. Apparently their great studio album 'Fact & Fiction' is going to be next, with many previously unreleased bonus songs. I can't wait.

Originally appeared in Feedback #65, Dec 01

Report this review (#970786)
Posted Tuesday, June 4, 2013 | Review Permalink

TWELFTH NIGHT Collector's Item ratings only

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  • 5 stars [email protected]
  • 2 stars [email protected]
  • 4 stars Cokus (Ariel A Codera)
  • 5 stars jfalcont
  • 4 stars Pylo (Yves)
  • 5 stars britjes (AD WIJGERDE)
  • 5 stars Schneebly
  • 4 stars Area70
  • 4 stars KeyserSoze (Marek Hron)
  • 4 stars krotik111 (Bill)
  • 4 stars leprogfreak (Rob)
  • 4 stars brunniepoo
  • 5 stars kevlar
  • 4 stars lord777lord7 (Kuehne, Axel)
  • 3 stars Matt-T (Matthew E Thomas)
  • 5 stars Jurski
  • 5 stars Herbert
  • 4 stars Progmind (Rodrigo)
  • 3 stars progspotter
  • 4 stars bmasseck
  • 5 stars noni (David)
  • 5 stars ScornDefeat
  • 4 stars Jester70
  • 5 stars Kingsnake (Monsieur Renard)
  • 4 stars lagos
  • 4 stars BMWRider (Mikel Koeniger)
  • 1 stars Quinino (Jose Simoes) COLLABORATOR Errors & Omissions Team
  • 5 stars captainjest (Joe Peterson)
  • 5 stars seouljester (jin)

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