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Illusion - Out Of The Mist CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.55 | 82 ratings

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Psychedelic Paul
5 stars Illusion were an English band whose line-up was mainly a reunion of the original members of the band Renaissance from their first two albums, Renaissance (1969) and Illusion (1971). The original Renaissance line-up consisted of Jane Relf (vocals), Keith Relf (electric guitar and vocals), John Hawken (piano, synthesisers, Hammond organ & Mellotron), Louis Cennamo (bass guitar) & Jim McCarty (drums). Jane Relf, Jim McCarty, John Hawken and Louis Cennamo all featured again on this Illusion "Out of the Blue" album. Jim McCarty and Keith Relf were former members of The Yardbirds. Sadly, Keith Relf (brother of Jane Relf) was killed in a tragic accident in 1976 shortly before he was due to have played on this album when he was electrocuted by his electric guitar at the tender age of 33. John Knightsbridge was brought in as a replacement for Keith Relf on guitar. The superb "Out of the Blue" album was the first Illusion album featuring the reconstituted original Renaissance line-up. They followed it up swiftly with a good second album, self-titled "Illusion" (1978). A rare third album "Enchanted Caress" was intended for release in 1979 but it wouldn't see the light of day until 1990. An equally rare fourth album "Through the Fire" followed in 2001, which was released under the band name of Renaissance Illusion. For fans of Jane Relf, there's also a special 2-CD collectors edition available of all her work with Renaissance, Illusion and the New Age band Stairway, titled "Jane's Renaissance - The Complete Jane Relf Collection 1969-1995", which includes a rare radio ad she recorded for Findus fish fingers!

The sound of Illusion's "Out of the Blue" album is as quintessentially English as a game of cricket with a cream tea and a scone on a pleasant English summer's day. The album opens in magnificent style with "Isadora", a beautiful, yet hauntingly- atmospheric 7-minute-long song of love. Jim McCarty is on lead vocals with Jane Relf providing sweet harmonies on backing vocals. There are some lovely long classical motifs from classically-trained pianist John Hawken and the song features a nice electric guitar break in the middle section. The song concludes in fine style as the vocal harmonies and gentle piano drift away into the distance in the fade-out. The second song "Roads To Freedom" is a bright and breezy up-tempo number with the melodious honeyed voice of Jane Relf on lead vocals. There's some charming classical-style piano playing again from John Hawken on this lively and uplifting song with Jim McCarty harmonising beautifully with Jane Relf as the song plays out. The next song "Beautiful Country" is a real highlight of the album. This lovely song features these charming lyrics:- "Beautiful country, Your mountains of heaven, Your glistening rivers a twisting away, Beautiful givers of summer's white kisses, Boldly for winter we want you to stay, I well lay me down upon the soft solid ground of this land." ........ It's an enchantingly beautiful melody which leaves one feeling spellbound and captivated with delight. There are Jane Relf's marvellous vocals at the forefront with the haunting sound of the tinkling piano and the ghostly Mellotron in the background. This is gorgeous music to drift away to at night underneath the bedcovers with the lights turned down low, where you can forget your cares and worries for a brief time. In complete contrast, the next song on the album "Solo Flight" is a real fast-paced rocker featuring Jim McCarty on vocals. In fact, the contrasting styles of the album are part of what gives the album its lasting appeal. Side Two opens with "Everywhere You Go", a bright and lively up-tempo song with the adorable voice of Jane Relf on lead vocals again and featuring superb piano accompaniment and orchestration. "Face of Yesterday" opens with a classical solo piano piece in the style of J.S. Bach. The song is another stunningly beautiful melody, full of charming English splendour, as Jane Relf carries you away to a warm and pleasant place with a voice as sweet as sugar. The album concludes in suitably exuberant and lively fashion with the 7-minute-long all-out rocker, "Candles Are Burning". The song features a grand finale with a full orchestra and choir to round off this superb album in grand and spectacular style.

An essential album for fans of early-era Renaissance which has stood the test of time.

Psychedelic Paul | 5/5 |


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