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Renaissance - Prologue CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.74 | 441 ratings

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4 stars This was my first full album by Renaissance, having heard the two 1001 Nights compilations previously. You might think that I wouldn't like this one as much, seeing as how much of their best material was gathered on those compilations. But surprisingly, I loved this album the first few times I heard it. Something about the charm and rawness it possess, with a young Haslam showing off her magnificent voice for the first time, just connected with me in a way I find hard to describe now.

Initially, it was definitely her voice that attracted me to the band, and I felt on this album that it was at its best. I've since realized that she is at her best on every album (though I've never heard the final 3, or more recent work by her). The lack of orchestra works for me, as we get to hear a more "rock" side of the band that sometimes was overwhelmed by the later orchestrations. That said, there are a couple of weak songs. Spare Some Love is something of a 60's flash back with a fairly simple structure that doesn't really do much and sounds quite dated. Bound For Infinity, while having pleasant vocals, doesn't really go anywhere and also has a kind of 60's dated type of sound to it as well.

For me, those are the only real weak tracks, however. The title track is classic Renaissance, a song they opened shows with for years after. Great wordless vocals from Annie, great bass playing, great arrangements and composition. A nice upbeat opener that really gets things off to a good start. Kiev is a rare example of Jon Camp's taking lead vocals, and he does a fine job. Not particularly exceptional, but Annie helps out on the choruses and the song has a great instrumental section that works really well. A personal favorite of mine, Sounds Of The Sea, features one of Annie's best vocal performances. I am just amazed every time I hear her hit some of the notes in this one, and perfectly with lots of emotion at that. The music is rather simple and subdued, yet works perfectly in this context. Great song. The final track was the last we'd hear of the electric guitar for quite a while, and a fine job it does. I always liked the intro, an attempt to emulate Sitar on an electric guitar, which I think creates a nice effect that would only work on a 70's album. The rest of the song features fantastic Indian style wordless vocals from Annie and great playing all around. One of my favorite Renaissance songs, believe it or not.

Really, this is a 3.5 star album. Since it is fairly different from what came after, and far less polished, I should probably round it down to 3. But it has a personal resonance for me that it might not for others. So I'll round up to the 4, but keep in mind that this is not the most representative album of theirs and may not be the best place to start.

infandous | 4/5 |


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