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Arlekin - Disguise Serenades CD (album) cover





3.34 | 48 ratings

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4 stars Throughout the listening experience of Disguise Serenade I was flooded with reminders of 1980's one off wonder BABYLON. It's that kind of sound, that kind of engineering, that kind of showman vocals, that kind of musicianship, that kind of naivet. Like Babylon's eponymously titled album, I like this album very much.

1. "The Lost Path" (8:26) opens with quite a dramatic feel, with the incredible emotion packed into the vocal like Peter Gabriel or Matthew Parmenter or BABYLON's Doroccus. After the vocal opening The music takes over in more of a DISCIPLINE and then PINK FLOYD way. Excellent emotional lead guitar play with perfect band support make this song a sheer masterpiece--that is until the bouncy 80s drum beat and chord progression that takes over at the 6:20 mark. During this section the vocal matches less well. Excellent guitar play almost saves this song. (9/10)

2. "Dance of The Jester" (8:47) has so much of a Peter Gabriel-era Genesis feel to it. The dramatic vocal 'storyteller' presentation is so much like Peter Gabriel's--and Fish's--'in character' approach to performance vocals. However, the song on its own has nothing really new to add to the prog lexicon.(8/10)

3. "Romance" (5:00) is a bare-bones blues-based song almost like a DOORS song--in which, unfortunately, the vocal is rather weak and almost over the top in its dramatic affect. Again this song seems to lack anything new or fresh to make it very interesting. It might even be called dull. (7/10)

4. "In This Puzzled Roundabout" (15:04) begins very powerfully like a classic DISCIPLINE song with some very simple instrumental support to the dramatic vocal performance. The spaciousness in the instrumental support is perfect for this vocal opening. At 2:05 an awesome instrumental section ensues in which an eerie keyboards solos while the background instruments build in intensity and volume. A minute later the rhythm section kicks it up to overdrive for thirty seconds before a gap of stillness opens the way for a very GENESIS sounding organ-led section. At 5:00 the vocal--now doubled up--returns with a strong melody to mirror the guitar arpeggios preceding and following it. This guitar-vocal cycle repeats a couple times before a brief TONY BANKSian solo bridges the way into a heavier almost BLACK SABBATH-section begins at the seven minute mark. Organ and then very fluid electric guitar solo lift us out of the dirge and back into the more upbeat realm of Foxtrot-era GENESIS--complete with Steve Hackett-like guitar work. Suddenly, at 10:05, a militaristic drum style takes us into a kind of "Get 'em out by Friday" section--except an awesome wah-treated guitar solo plays over the top. Awesome section! All too brief as at 11:52 the organ again leads the listener back into GENESIS/BABYLON land. Definitely my favorite song on the album--an "epic" for the ages. (9/10)

On the album has a fifth song that is not listed in the liner notes of the official album release. 5(??). "Old Father East" (20:02) on progstreaming this song comes up as a 20 minute song but with a six minute gap of silence after the first instrumental song ends at the 3:59 mark, a second song begins at the ten minute mark--and it turns out to be an alternate (demo?) version of song #2, "Dance of The Jester."

Overall there is something lacking in the recording/engineering/mixing of this album that is again quite reminiscent of early Genesis and the 1980 Babylon release. Is this intentional? I do not know. But the musician's performances--including the vocals--are quite good and usually quite engaging. The album's two bookends, "The Lost Path" and "In This Puzzled Roundabout" are quite good.

3.5 star album.

BrufordFreak | 4/5 |


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