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Phoenix - SymPhoenix - Timişoara CD (album) cover



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4 stars Detailed information on this album is scarce, so forgive me for any inaccuracies in this review!

This album by the Romanian band PHOENIX, recorded in 1992, is named after the the town in Romania from which the band originated, Timisoara, also the town where the 1990 revolution in that country started following the fall of communism. It was recorded in the wake of a huge comeback by the band after the collapse of the communist regime.

"Timisoara" departs from previous PHOENIX albums in being recorded tegether with the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra Bucuresti and choral background vocals, lending it its own unique orchestral style. Generally, the music is, for want of better words, "heavier" in style, with strong guitar, drums and vocals, creating more of rock (some might argue, westernised) sound. However, the band still firmly maintain their links to Romanian folk music and incorporate traditional instruments, in particular the oboe (Adrian Petrescu) and the violin (Mani Neuman).

The result is some excellent and powerfully emotive music. Lead singer Nicolae Covaci provides strong, emotional vocals, and this effect is enhanced by the use of background chorals. A good example is the track "Fata Verde." Also, throughout the album a perfect balance has been struck through being consistant in style without running the risk of becoming too tedious.

However, much as I like the album, I cannot award it five stars for two basic reasons. Firstly, nearly all of the tracks are remakes of previous material (with the obvious exception of "Timişoara"), I would have liked to have seen more original pieces. Secondly, the English lyrics in "Tamara", "Would You Follow Me", "Stars Dance" and "Running" seem somehow out place in a prog folk album by a band whose material is largely based on Romanian poetry and folklore. The need to reach wider audiences should not be at the expense of originality.

I recommend this album particularly to all those of you out there who are into progressive folk rock, but it is a valuable addition to anyone's prog rock collection. It is constistently varied enough for one not to feel the need to skip tracks, a true sign of a four or five star album.


Thanks to Andu for providing band member details

Report this review (#141174)
Posted Sunday, September 30, 2007 | Review Permalink

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