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Magenta - Home CD (album) cover





3.48 | 128 ratings

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Symphonic Team
4 stars Magenta finally finding their home

I can easily understand how someone could listen to the present album and not immediately notice its considerable beauty as it is admittedly a more toned down affair compared to the previous Revolutions and Seven albums. The extravagances of those works have been largely stripped away here. For me, however, Home is a more mature and overall more rewarding effort. Magenta no longer wear their influences on their sleeves here. The Yes influence is still here, but overall the influences are much more evenly distributed among several of the biggest names in progressive Rock, this time including Pink Floyd and, dare I say, The Beatles! We get lots of emotional lead guitar, often reminiscent of David Gilmour and other greats. I'm not implying that Home is a highly original and novel work - it isn't really - but it is certainly less derivative and more of Magenta's own. Home is thus a more honest effort.

The first thing to notice is that Home is a much more sentimental and melancholic affair compared to earlier Magenta releases. The tone is darker and the focus is more on the emotional lyrical content than on instrumental chops and vocal acrobatics. This is not to say that there is a lack in the latter department, just that the considerable instrumental and vocal talents embellish the lyrics rather than the other way around. I think it is fair to say that the music on Home is less pompous and bombastic compared to what was found on the band's earlier albums and it was partly some of that pompousness that made it hard for me to fully appreciate those other albums.

Another thing to notice is that, while the two previous albums were also both conceptual in the sense that there was an overarching theme, Home is the first Magenta album to feature a storyline. The story is about a woman who leaves home and goes searching for a new life. The theme reminds of Camel's Dust And Dreams and Harbour Of Tears albums, both also about searching for a new life. Also Marillion's Brave comes to mind - also an emotional tale of a fragile woman.

I also think that Christina Booth's vocals are stronger here than ever before. She seems more interested in conveying the emotional message than vocal acrobatics and out-doing Annie Haslam. There is also no attempt to do a hit song here, everything is about the story.

Yet another appealing aspect of the present work is the greater instrumental diversity. Harpsichord, mandolin and Uilleann pipes and whistles (the latter played by Troy Donockley) give slight folky overtones that I personally appreciate very much. There is also a nice little saxophone solo in one song! Overall, Home is a more acoustic work compared to other Magenta albums, but Rob Reed still hands in some tasteful synthesiser lines.

Admittedly, it took many listens before this album settled in, but it is an album that should be given more chances. Don't give up if you're not impressed after only one or two listens. Home grew on me with every listen. Here I can finally give the rating I wish I could give to Revolutions - four stars it is! In my opinion, this is Magenta's best studio album.

SouthSideoftheSky | 4/5 |


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