Header
Saga - Steel Umbrellas  CD (album) cover

STEEL UMBRELLAS

Saga

Crossover Prog


From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Bookmark and Share
Hibou
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Many critics can't stomach this album and frankly, I admit I don't like it much either. It contains far too few memorable tracks but in all fairness, the ones that do work ought to be mentioned. There's a definite jazzy feel to some of these tunes that grows on you. The opening track "Why Not" is a firy rocker in the purest SAGA tradition and is by far the best cut of the album. "Shake That Tree" gets into a groove I find very hard to resist. "Steamroller" is a funky little number ŕ la Jeff Beck (of course, Mr. Beck's contribution would have been a welcome addition here, although the horn section acts as an honourable substitute). Finally, the two 'tear jerkers' "I Walk With You" and "Say Goodbye to Hollywood" sound a bit sappy, but I have to admit it takes a special talent to come up with such ditties - to my knowledge, only Elton John and Alan Parsons (and perhaps a few other pop geniuses I can't think of) are capable of similar feats. No, "Steel Umbrellas" is definitely not SAGA's best. For the few tracks mentioned above, however, I'll grant them a passing grade.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

WARNING: Forum software upgrade in progress, login function maybe affected for some users during that time.

Send comments to Hibou (BETA) | Report this review (#17515)
Posted Wednesday, June 02, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars I've ever thought this album was made only to gain enough money and time to make their next album 'Generation 13' and if you hear to that album you'll probably guess the same. Anyway, there are some good songs in this album just like the first one 'Why Not', very pop and strong at the same time, I like it so much, one of my favourites of the album. 'Shake That Tree' is powerful, a very good song too. 'I Walk With You' is a very emotive ballad that you'll not forget. And other of my favourites 'Steamroller', with a very rocker riff, a very strong piece on wheels. '(Walking On) Thin Ice' is not a typic saga piece, but it's interesting to listen what the band can do when they want, this is not a bad song but I find it a little reiterative. These are, in my opinion, the strongest points of the album, but in general terms this is not essential. NOT RECOMMENDED IF YOU ARE NEW WITH THIS BAND!!!

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

WARNING: Forum software upgrade in progress, login function maybe affected for some users during that time.

Send comments to porcupine_boy (BETA) | Report this review (#17516)
Posted Wednesday, December 22, 2004 | Review Permalink
Fishy
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Back in 1994, I heard this album was initially recorded for a try out of a new recording studio. Don't know if this story is true but it sure sounds like it. The production sounds expensive but that's the really the only spectacular thing to write of. This album came as a shock, a year after the release of "The security of illusion", the previous Saga album. TSU was more or less a return to form. Around that time, I saw them performing live with all that classics from the first 5 albums in the live set, avoiding all the albums that were released after 1984. I never expected the Saga boys to release another album of pure pop, just to let you know that SU is not a typical Saga album. "Behaviour" is the only album which shows some similarities to this album and the song writing on that album was even better than the tracks you get in this effort. But no one will state that "Behaviour" is a good Saga-album either.

The first track is easily the best of the bunch. "Why not" has a typical eighties production with its exotic electronic percussion but in essence, this is a good Saga track. There's some typical Saga melodies and you can catch some groovy atmospheres which gives room to breathe for the wonderful guitar lines of Ian Crichton. Still.it's terribly streamlined and soft. The other highlight "Shake that tree" has Jim Gilmour on vocals. This is another soft popish track with the guitar parts mixed to the background, funky eighties bass lines and an exotic female background choir. Underneath the smooth production you can hear all the elements of a decent Saga pop song and I always liked the voice of Jim for a couple of songs.... "Password pirate" is another pop track which is totally unlike Saga ; interesting to hear how the band takes a completely different course and manages to lay down some sparkling pop melodies that made me give it another spin. The "Das Boot" electronic vocals sure sounds fashionable and the track has a nice flow with its rhythms changing rapidly.

If you're looking for some pathetic ballads, seek no further. "I walk with you" may be a tender sounding track, I can't imagine someone will long to listen to this a second time. Same thing goes for "never alone", a romantic melody, smooth production, good chorus with nice backing vocal harmonies but all in all, this is forgettable AOR.

Some people keep saying that Saga is more a rock/pop band than a progressive band ; these people should check this album out to prove they're absolutely right. There really is not a note of progressive rock music to discover on this album. Fortunately, this Canadian band do have other albums where the progressive tendencies are more to the fore.

If you take a look at the pictures on the cover of "Steel umbrellas", you should know what to expect of this album. Unless you're on a holiday on a warm island full of sunny beaches, you'll not be interested in hearing this. "Steel umbrellas" is definitely a light version of Saga. I believe they tried to organise a sell out with this release but fortunately they failed cause this album sold poorly. Recommended for Saga purists only.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

WARNING: Forum software upgrade in progress, login function maybe affected for some users during that time.

Send comments to Fishy (BETA) | Report this review (#88688)
Posted Friday, September 01, 2006 | Review Permalink
rushfan4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars FIRST THEY STEEL AN UMBRELLA THEN THEY STEAL YOUR MONEY

Saga is one of those elusive long-time progressive rock bands that I never knew about until the past few years, but once I finally discovered them I was hooked. I have heard Saga described as Rush's little brother, and maybe there are some similarities, but I think that the similarities stop at being Canadian progressive hard rock bands. At the time that I type this review, Saga are currently classified as prog-related. In my opinion, they have released a number of albums that are fine examples of crossover prog. Steel Umbrellas is not one of those albums. Steel Umbrellas is one of those albums that makes you look at the line-up list to see which key members were replaced by who. Sadly, unlike some of the other long-time prog bands, there were no changes in personnel and this album is the result of the work of all of the core members of Saga. Saga were never the kind of progressive rock band that are going to amaze you with their innovative playing or ground breaking sounds, but they are the kind of progressive rock band that were good at producing really good melodic songs with the inclusion of progressive touches scattered throughout most of their songs. On Steel Umbrellas, there is hardly a touch of that progressive rock sound to be found. The drumming is decent, but it seems as though the same beat rarely changes within a song. A few decent guitar riffs are found here and there but it is mostly unmemorable. Even the keyboard playing is lacking on this album.

Alright, now that I got that out of the way and off of my chest, Steel Umbrellas is still a decent pop album, that many artists would be lucky to be able to create. Why Not is probably the pick of the litter of this album with some decent drumming and guitar work. The next best songs are probably Shake That Tree and Password Pirate, which has a little bit of quirkiness to it. Songs like (You We're) Never Alone, I Walk With You, and Say Goodbye to Hollywood are all decent sounding slower songs/ballads. Musically, very little interesting happens within these songs, but the melodies and the sentiments are nice. Lastly, the song Steamroller is somewhat interesting musically as it is a bit funky and includes some horns on it. Unfortunately, it also includes some of the worst lyrics ever. I want you to remember me, so rub my bumper nice and clean, if it's good for you, it's good for me. Don't you want to ride a... Steamroller. Like, ewww, no. Not even David Lee Roth tried to pull off words this bad.

This is one of those albums that teeters between being 1 star or 2 stars. I guess that it isn't poor per se, but it also isn't that good, so that would lead me to give it 2 stars. I'd say that fans of Saga might be like me and be OK with this album. On the other hand, non-Saga fans who are also prog rock fans will probably want to definitely stay away from this one.

Thankfully, Saga came back the following year with their concept album Generation 13, which quite possibly might be their best and most progressive work.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

WARNING: Forum software upgrade in progress, login function maybe affected for some users during that time.

Send comments to rushfan4 (BETA) | Report this review (#197566)
Posted Tuesday, January 06, 2009 | Review Permalink
debrewguy
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
1 stars Whaaa Happened ???

Not having gone through their entire discography, I can't comment on other albums where Saga has gone pop.

But this album, from the point of view of this person, who loves Heads or Tales, finds the Human Condition & Worlds Apart excellent albums, well ...

I'll present the two good things I can say - yes, Shake the Tree is good pop. Not that I like it, but it could have merited a place on Adult contemporary radio in the 80s. And I kind of like Password Pirate/Access Code/Password. But is it just that it stands out from a mediocre bunch of songs ?

And that's the thing. Steel Umbrellas is full blown 80s Adult Contemporary. Phil Collins, Sting, and many others put out some good albums of that style back then. Saga, arrives 15 years too late, and short on the compositional end of things.

Really not of interest to the prog fan, barely needed if you're a Saga fan. Unless you're a completist , this is not one you'll miss. Unless you miss 80s radio.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

WARNING: Forum software upgrade in progress, login function maybe affected for some users during that time.

Send comments to debrewguy (BETA) | Report this review (#216241)
Posted Saturday, May 16, 2009 | Review Permalink
1 stars The led balloon.

The very good The Security of Illusion album was hailed as a return to form for Saga after some rather dubious albums. After some tours promoting that album, Saga wrote some music meant for a movie score. The movie never materialized though. OK, this may be an excuse for this Steel Umbrellas album. A hardly believable one too.

The album opens pretty promising and the pretty decent second song (You Were) Never Alone reminds me about Saga from the 1970s..... for a couple of minutes. Then the album drops out of the skies like a led balloon.

The rest of the album is a pastisj of INXS, various 1980's New Romantism bands (Duran Duran springs to mind) and various synth bands from the same era. The music is pomp pop with cheap verses follow cheap bridges follows cheap instrumental solos follows cheap vocals. Everything sounds so cheap here. Even the art work looks so cheap. In short; this album is a cheap collage over the worst excesses the 1980s could offer.

This album is really painful from beginning to the end. The worst song: Say Goodbye to Hollywood. No words can describe that awful ballad.

In short, this album is utterly horrible.

1 star

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

WARNING: Forum software upgrade in progress, login function maybe affected for some users during that time.

Send comments to toroddfuglesteg (BETA) | Report this review (#313276)
Posted Thursday, November 11, 2010 | Review Permalink
progrules
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars I'm afraid I will have to join the bashing of this album looking at the average rating. Well, bashing sounds a bit as if it's done in an unfair way but really, this album had it coming. It's almost as if the guys have made an agreement: hey let's make a real poor one this time after our pretty nice success with Security of Illusion. As if it's some sort of sick bet to prove they really can do that. But it's not logical; why should they ? And a record company would never agree to something like that, would they ...?

No really, all joking aside, I don't know what Saga was thinking here. I mean, Wildest Dreams and Pleasure and the Pain have also been criticized but this Steel Umbrellas is right up there with Saga's three worst albums in their discography. And they almost had me fooled with the opener Why Not? which is not really an awful song, but the next three (or four) proved why this release has such a poor reputation. Main problem are the drums. Negus is an excellent drummer but he was either uninspired or totally out of form here. And why did the rest of the band allow this one dimensional performance on almost all songs ? Even I could (almost) do this. It's way below Saga standard. And this also goes for the other instruments same as for just about all the compositions as well as production quality by the way.

The only one who's performing on normal level is mr Sadler but that's not enough of course. So a very mediocre album to say the least. It's poor really especially compared to most of their other efforts. I could even give one for this but my outmost respect for one of my favorite bands of all time prevents me from doing so and I will round up in the end (1,5).

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

WARNING: Forum software upgrade in progress, login function maybe affected for some users during that time.

Send comments to progrules (BETA) | Report this review (#561840)
Posted Thursday, November 03, 2011 | Review Permalink
SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
2 stars Walking on thin ice

Steel Umbrellas was for a long time the only album missing from my Saga collection. When I finally found it (on Spotify) I was expecting the worst given the very low average rating it has on this website (at the time of writing it is the lowest rated Saga studio album of all here). After having listened to it now, I must say that it is not quite as bad as I expected. Still, it is certainly among the least good Saga albums of all time together with Behavior, Wildest Dreams, and The Pleasure & The Pain. What is most astonishing of all is that this album was released between two very good Saga albums; the strong The Security Of Illusion from the year before and the conceptual masterpiece Generation 13 from the year after. Judged in the narrow context of its immediate surroundings, Steel Umbrellas is indeed extremely disappointing and that might be the primary reason for which it is rated as low as it is. But judged in the slightly wider context of the band's output from the 90's and second half of the 80's, it is not that unsatisfactory.

Steel Umbrellas certainly does not sound at all like the follow up to The Security Of Illusion or the predecessor to Generation 13, but rather much more like if it came out of the mid- 80's. Had this album been released say, between 1985's Behavior and 1987's Wildest Dreams, it would surely had been better received than it was in 1994. Overall, this era (the 90's and second half of the 80's) was musically a very turbulent one in Saga's discography with the quality of their output varying widely and erratically from the best to the worst. During this period, they also seemed unsure about their identity and not knowing quite what direction to take. While The Security Of Illusion saw the band stepping into 90's, with Steel Umbrellas they reverted to their earlier mid-80's sound - perhaps triggered by this identity crisis? Some would perhaps say that the material here sounds like leftovers from the mid-80's, but I think it is up to par with, if not better than, those aforementioned weak mid- 80's albums.

The album opener Why Not, Shake That Tree, and the ballad I Walk With You (best experienced in the bonus acoustic live version) are among the better songs here, while the bluesy Steamroller is the worst. The other songs are generally on the soft Pop side and as such they lack the energy and power for which Saga is best known.

Recommended primarily for fans, especially those fans who enjoy the band's mid-80's period.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

WARNING: Forum software upgrade in progress, login function maybe affected for some users during that time.

Send comments to SouthSideoftheSky (BETA) | Report this review (#807141)
Posted Sunday, August 19, 2012 | Review Permalink

SAGA Steel Umbrellas ratings only


chronological order | showing rating only

Post a review of SAGA Steel Umbrellas


You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

WARNING: Forum software upgrade in progress, login function maybe affected for some users during that time.

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — the ultimate jazz music virtual community | MetalMusicArchives.com — the ultimate metal music virtual community


Server processing time: 0.17 seconds