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Pendragon - Acoustically Challenged CD (album) cover





3.44 | 70 ratings

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Symphonic Team
2 stars The pursuit of acoustic excellence?

This acoustic live album originally recorded for Polish radio is probably a pleasant listen for many Pendragon fans, but it does not compare very favourably to their studio output nor do these acoustic live versions add anything of significant interest to the original studio versions. The line-up here is reduced to only Nick Barrett on guitars and vocals, Clive Nolan on keyboards and Peter Gee on extra guitars. As Nolan plays not only acoustic keyboards, the "unplugged" label is not entirely accurate. But it is surely a toned down affair and with such a restricted musical palette, the songs are naturally stripped of their complexity and most of their splendour. The instrumental flourishes that normally are so important to Pendragon's music (and to most progressive Rock in general) are either eliminated altogether here or considerably abridged and simplified. This is notable throughout the whole performance, but it is nowhere as evident as on A Man With Nomadic Traits. This song was the highlight of the Not Of This World album, but here it is transformed into a rather generic number, albeit with strong vocals. Had I not known the greatness of the song beforehand, it could probably have passed through my ears without leaving any particular impressions at all.

The selection of songs they chose to perform here are hardly the best or even the most well-known ones. Rather they concentrate on rather obscure songs, which is interesting but ultimately a not very wise move I must say. Some of the songs date back to the first half of the 80's, one of which - Dark Summer's Day - was only released on an EP that came out one year before the release of the band's debut album. Fallen Dreams And Angels is another song present here that was also only released on an EP. One song is taken from the 1985 debut album and one from the weak KowTow. Some of the band's later and more well-known and popular albums are represented as well, but not always by their best songs. The Masquerade Overture, for example, is represented by The Pursuit Of Excellence which is not a very representative song for that album. This version is not an improvement either with Nick being unable to handle all the notes properly!

This is a release that fits firmly into the "for fans only"-category. It will please the band's most devoted fans, but hardly attract any new ones

SouthSideoftheSky | 2/5 |


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