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1 stars This album is a dissapointment in comparison to Shadowdance. It's as if they moved from their original sound to take on the label they had been given, that of being a new age band. I'm not saying that the album is not listenable, there are still some nice explorations, but the sound is getting to be more like the new age bands that shared the Windham Hill label, which is a shame.

The first track is "Another Country" which tries to sound like world music but is nothing like anything from another country. It's simple 4/4 time and the only "world-y" thing about it are the cool percussives. The melody seems mostly taken on by a flute and it tries to copy the sound in the previous album's title track, but doesn't come close. "Snowline" is nothing but a popular jazz sound and doesn't really do much. "The Big Song" starts out slowly and sounds like it might actually go somewhere, it even sounds like it's exploring new territory, but then the drums join in, the theme establishes itself and it becomes nothing but a rock instrumental. Nothing exciting here past the first minute. "The Dreams of Children" is nothing but a copy of mellow new age which is the opposite of the Shadowdance album...the Shadowdance album demands to be listened to while this title track only demands to be background music. Nothing special here either. "Word from the Village" contains vocals in what sounds like a tribal language and can almost be passed off as world music, but it sounds too polished and the sax actually ruins what could have been a nice piece. Fortunately, the middle part of this track loses the sax and becomes enjoyable until the sax comes back with some very light improv which messes up the song again. Heavy bass and keyboards introduce "Kindred Spirits". This horrible song sounds like an introduction to some terrible 80s hit song and you almost expect Peter Cetera to start singing one of his lousy top 40 songs that ruined the band "Chicago". "Shaman Song" has got the cool percussives again and is led by a violin. At least in this track, the violin doesn't try to spin off a traditional pop sound. This is the best track on the album and almost sounds more like it belongs on the Shadowdance album. Everything works together very nicely in this track and it doesn't sound like the typical new age faire that was around at the the time. This is the direction you wish the rest of the album would have went. "Above the Wailing Wall" is also another great track with an exciting guitar lead in the beginning. The violin takes over with a distintive sound that follows no real theme but is very interesting anyway. The guitar comes back with the original theme, then wanders off into variant forms along with the violin but it fades out all too soon.

So, other that the last two tracks, this is mostly just convoluted new age music. New age music did have some highlights, but there is nothing new here, it's just the same tired worn- out formulaic sound over some nice percussion. I would recommend the previous album "Shadowdance" over this one by quite a large margin. Too bad the band did not continue exploring the sounds and complex rhythms from that album. Instead they attempted to lighten their sound and go to where the money seemed to be, but this probably helped ruin their reputation of what might have been a great jazz/prog band.

Report this review (#291900)
Posted Sunday, July 25, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars OK, this may not be the glorious Shadowfax of their earlier fusion era, but still a very decent and pleasant album nevertheless.

If The Dreams of Children were to be judged solely on the basis of its level of "proggyness", it could easily be found lacking ... but for those who don't mind - for a change - a short New Age intermezzo in their "prog" spiritual diet, this Shadowfax album may feel refreshing.

I wasn't disappointed. Matter of fact, the Shadowfax evolution between their debut Watercourse Way and The Dreams was a lot more palatable than that of some bands, who shape-shifted into commercial pop outfits in the 1980's.

No less that 3 stars for The Dreams, therefore

Report this review (#937097)
Posted Saturday, March 30, 2013 | Review Permalink

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