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Clarion - Clarion CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.51 | 13 ratings

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3 stars This is a pleasant Italian duo with a very romantic approach to prog. Their debut album showcases strong classical and jazz inflected flute and plenty of keyboards. The credits show no guitars, but I didn't miss them, because flutes often take the lead. Having said that, "Reverie" sounds like it has some electric guitar or at least electric violin! Other atypical keyboards like harpsichord also feature.

Vocals are only included on one track, "Chico Mendes", but are gracefully handled by Liliana Bodini.

This is more an album to quietly meditate to or float away on, especially so in the synthesizer dominated first part of "Canzone del mare " which eventually transforms into a retro organ solo with an element of swing that is as fun to listen to as it probably was to play. This is followed by an almost Caravan-style segment a la Land of Grey and Pink.

The main criticism of the album is that, while it might be considered progressive, for the most part it is not rock. Nothing is really jarring or abrupt here. While it takes many cues from its 1970s progenitors, it strips away anything offensive from those influences, which means it takes fewer risks, and produces fewer major rewards than it might have. Put another way, Clarion suffers some of the pitfalls of the new age genre. This happens even more in the latter pieces on the album, making "Oriana" and "Endlich" weaker. Still, if you approach with eyes wide open the minor paybacks are frequent and worthwhile.

Recommended only to fans of mellow prog and/or people who appreciate good playing which doesn't necessarily ignite flames.

kenethlevine | 3/5 |


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