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BOX OF CIRCLES

England

Symphonic Prog


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Sagichim
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Here's a weird album, about two years ago I heard England released a new album but I couldn't find any information about it, nothing that says whether this is a good album or not. Eventually I went for it and ordered the album, and man did that turned out to be a real flop. I think many progers are familiar with England's 70's album Garden Shed, it is most certainly one of the better albums to come out in the time of its release. So when I found out that the line up is exactly the same I couldn't help but getting my hopes up. So first of all let me say that this has no relation what so ever to Garden Shed, their beautiful and engaging complex Yes inspired symphonic prog is nowhere to be seen. Instead of that you get....well I don't even know exactly what it is, all kinds of songs going in all kinds of directions without a common thread, there's nothing to hold them together. Their complexity of old days is reduced to a minimum, it's not progressive rock anymore, there's nothing here that indicates that this is even the same band. It's not all bad though, some of it is actually good on its own right but it's mostly incoherent, mediocre bland and sometimes just downright bad.

The first half of the album is definitely better, going through different ideas and executed well. The album starts with a straight forward cover for the famous piece Carmina Burana, this is quite enjoyable and nicely done although it doesn't bring anything new to the table. The playing is solid although the cover is pretty much straight forward. Destiny is probably the best song here, sounds like a modern Yes circa Magnification or something like that. It's slow and calm with some nice symphonic arrangements on the keys, I missed Robert Webb's vocals he can still sound like Jon Anderson at times. Hymn really surprised me the first time, it's mostly only a cappella sung by a few vocalists with a short instrumental interlude. After a few times I must say this has grew on me and I do like it a lot but I still don't understand what's its relation to the rest of the songs. Master Of War endures my confusion, this is a slow female fronted jazz thing, sounds like Nina Simone or something like that, nice but again why is it here? God Must Be A Boogieman has a certain playfulness to it and some nice vocals on top but it is quite bland to my ears. After a few decent ideas it goes terribly down hill from now on... Timelessness is quiet with only violins, piano and female vocals, this fails to move me and once again seems totally out of context. The title Fags, Booze & Lottery is not the worst thing in the song, at this point you're wondering what the hell happened to England? But don't worry it gets even worse... It couldn't Be You is some kind of a ballade, it starts as sort of a cover with altered lyrics to The Fool On The Hill?? but then gets much worse with horrendous vocals, I just can't believe this. The next Wheel Of Fortune while generally is a bad song it does have a nice chorus to it, unfortunately it's destroyed by bad vocals and cheesy keyboard sound, Fine Alley doesn't save the day and continues to be pointless, uninspired and boring.

I don't see how anybody would enjoy this, and I don't have any desire to listen to it again. I guess I should have known by the album cover, it's as bad as the music. 2 stars thanks to a few mediocre songs. Better to avoid.

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Posted Wednesday, May 27, 2020 | Review Permalink

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