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Renaissance - Azure d'Or CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.03 | 225 ratings

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4 stars At the moment, this is my favorite album from Renaissance. I never noticed how much they sounded like Yes, how much their logo looked like Yes' logo, how much Annie Haslam sounded like Jon Anderson, how Jon Camp might well have squired under a certain teacher. As I've noted earlier, all this at a time when the old guard was limping into the new decade, at a time when new hands were needed to grab at the brass ring. (I really have to stop mixing my metaphors.) At the core of Azure d'Or are some of the band's most succinct, magical creations: "Jekyll And Hyde," "The Winter Tree," "Kalynda." I suspect this is what most progressive bands were trying to do in 1979: write smart and snappy arrangements within the context of four-minute songs. That few pulled it off (Camel and Genesis come to mind) shows what a fine line it was. Looking back, though, Renaissance often floundered in the epic format, not the fount of inspiration that flowed from the very heart of Yes, Gentle Giant, Tull, etc. On Azure d'Or, the band is able to pack very clever twists into the standard verse/chorus format, which results in songs that brim with goodness (as opposed to a handful of deflated opuses). Everything moves briskly, purposefully, without a leaky patch in the thatch. Maybe Renaissance were late bloomers, a rarity as progressive rock bands go. Azure d'Or remains a treat on the tree of late '70s prog, as tart and tasty a selection to grow from their limb as I can recall.
daveconn | 4/5 |


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