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Beggars Opera - Waters of Change  CD (album) cover


Beggars Opera


Symphonic Prog

3.63 | 183 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars The followup to Act One is no lost masterpiece, but it's enough of a step up from its predecessor to merit an extra star and the full attention of anyone keen on the Vertigo label's early prog bands. The songwriting approach moves away here from the Keith Emerson- inspired approach of the previous album - gone are the super-fast songs dominated by Alan Park's organ tossing out classical quotations like anything - and in its place are more balanced songs on which the other instrumentalists get a more equal share of the spotlight, and the pace is a bit more varied than on Act One (which was more or less stuck in "fast" gear with regular excursions to "extra fast").

Part of this is due to the increased role of Virginia Scott in the group - she'd been brought in for the previous album as a songwriter to compose original material for the group, and with the sharp reduction in covers of baroque classical pieces (in fact, I think all the music here is original) her contributions have more room to breathe. (As, indeed, do the musical ideas of the other band members, most of whom step up to contribute to the songwriting on this album.) On top of that, Scott became a performing member of the band at this point in time too, joining as the group's dedicated mellotron player, her playing adding new layers of texture to the songs and helping to make them less of a purely organ-dominated affair.

None of these improvements - or the higher standard of production - are quite enough to propel Beggars Opera into the stratosphere, but the album still stands head and shoulders over its predecessor, and should probably be your first port of call if you plan to explore the band's work.

Warthur | 4/5 |


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