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Dave Bainbridge - Celestial Fire CD (album) cover

CELESTIAL FIRE

Dave Bainbridge

 

Crossover Prog

4.01 | 88 ratings

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BrufordFreak
4 stars This album has been difficult for me to get a grip on. It's amazing and yet, somehow, disappointing. At times I've listen to it with little or no emotional connection and others I'm completely drawn in with my jaw on the floor. The problem is, I think, that you have to be willing and able to give Celestial Fire your full attention to appreciate its magnificence. As Thomas said in his review of 2/9/15, there is a lot of "old Yes" feeling to this album. Some of the songs could have come from Drama or should have been on Tormato. Much in the IONA tradition, the violins of Frank van Essen, Celtic wind instruments of Troy Donockley and David Fitzgerald, and "ethereal" vocals of Joanne Hogg provide tremendous contributions to this album. And Mr. Bainbridge's keyboard work has never been more impressive (Note: "Love Remains"!) My problem is perhaps with some of the other contributors and parts of the album and its songs. Don't get me wrong, bassist Randy George and drummer Collin Leijenaar are incredible. I just feel confused sometimes whether the music is going hard rock, or Celtic folk, Jazz rock or ethereal ambient. And Dave's impressive guitar play spills over a few too many times into the area I call "bombast"--as if he's really going overboard trying to impress us (like on "For Such a Time as This"). Also, there are moments--too many, perhaps--that sound just like Yes songs (or THE FLOWER KINGS). I love(d) Yes and I even like many of the Yes-inspired or imitators. For some reason the voice of uber-competent Demian WIlson is hidden way back in the mix. Maybe I just need to chill and let it flow. I had it on heavy rotation when I first got it and then kind of forgot about it. That might be indicative of some of my hesitation with this album--it really hasn't drawn me back much less lassoed my heart. However, I cannot help but exclaim that this is prog rock composition and performance at its very highest level.

Favorite songs: the weave of piano, strings, synth, guitar and voice of 4. "The First Autumn" (4:04), the opening half of "Celestial Fire" (15:23); the gorgeous Disney-like first half of "In the Moment" (14:22), and; the pair of softer Celtic pieces, "Innocence Found" (5:49) (gorgeous weave throughout) and the Mike Oldfield Hergest Ridge-like instrumental finale, "On the Edge of Glory" (3:05).

A solid four star album that might deserve more.

BrufordFreak | 4/5 |

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