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Renaissance - Time-Line CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

1.59 | 147 ratings

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2 stars Time-Line is actually a pretty good pop album. There's really no aspect of this album that would irritate the common listener, though still it's a thorn under a progheads toenail. Badly said, but tells a lot about the album in my opinion. It's pretty entertaining and light. The only irritating things about this album is the amount of songs and the song Richard IX.

As said, the album is as long as a 'normal' prog album in the sense, that it's really stretched to the limits with 10 short songs. The first one, Flight is pretty hollow, musically. It doesn't really offer any feelings but lowers expectations towards the rest of the album. Which might actually be a good thing. It's not a bad song, it's rather powerful and melodic, but when you're expecting something like the early Renaissance, having heard Camera Camera, this is a clear step to a new direction.

In my opinion Missing Persons, the following track has some really nice parts, especially the chorus. This is mostly due to Annie's vocals, which is something that keeps Renaissance alive through anything. It's still a bit less interesting than the nr. 1 track on this album. Not a 5 star album so far, but there's more to come.

Chagrin Boulevard is a really nice song with melodies we can all recognise as the real Renaissance. It's a romantic lovesong, though with powerful 80s synth and drums. Listening to this, I can't help imagining a boulevard in a green park on early autumn, leaves falling and the wind blowing. She's wearing a scarf and he has a trenchcoat and his arm around her. Someone walks past with two dogs, probably heading home already. Beautiful.

As said before, I don't like Richard IX. It's jumpy, thump thump beat, and the chorus is like from a children's song, repetitive and pretty unimaginative. Well, one who fancies fairytales might like this, but I would have left it out the album, wouldn't have been a bad choise.

The Entertainer has a nice catch in the beginning, and some hidden hooks that still have the hinch of the old Renaissance, especially before Annie goes very high, singing Come and see, which everyone has got to hear for themselves. However, it's still a bit flat. There seems to be forced ups and downs, never really reaching the climax they used to. Of course, one must notice, that the goal of this album is most likely not to record something similar but something new. It's nice pop, but so far nowhere near progressive.

I like Electric Avenue in some kinky way. Maybe it's my romantic desire for streets and avenues or maybe the song's just good. It's electric, really, but there's the leading bass as in so many Renaissance song before, and the vocals are really nice, not so much pretty, but powerful female vocals. This song is groovy and though really 80s pop, it's one fo the best in that scene. The bridge to the chorus is really harmonic, and the nice, easy-going tune behind the chorus somehow relaxes the listener. Really a good song, especially when you get tired of listening to long musical passages, like 5 minutes before going to bed. There's even a sax solo. Really 80s New Wave.

I really don't get why they had to name the next song Majik... it sounds as if they're trying to reach something that they can't get a hold of with their music. Well, the song seems very forced again, Magic, tragic. The best part of the song is the C-part and the interesting synth pattern throughout the silent parts of the song... but the whole musical experience is hollow. Two or three more instruments would really help.

Distant Horizons and Orient Express are top of the pops of the 80s Renaissance too. Both are of the melodic side. Every now and then there's a pearl, a touch to the creative side, nothing that's made because it needs to be made. Agreed, the lyrics aren't as good as in the early ones, but John Camp, who did most of the creative work has said this is their best album ever. Says much about ones goals and intentions. Well, most of their fans will disagree. Yet, everyone must agree on some songs, like that these two are really good. I think it shows very well, that no-one is limited to the style their doing at one point. Renaissance took a complete turn in their last albums of this period and did it OK.

Autotech needs to be mentioned. It's obviously something Camp wanted to do for a long time, and so he sung it himself. I'm not a big fan of this song, it's not really Renaissance, it's more like John Camp, or his later innovations. Really one of the songs I would have left out along with Richard IX, Missing Persons and Majik. Without those, this would have deserved one star more on the rating.

Altogether this album is worth just 2 stars. I wouldn't recommend this to someone who isn't a Renaissance fan to begin with. There's much that doesn't sound like Renaissance, and one should really know the band before checking this album out. However, it's still got some songs everyone should check out at that very point of their life. Listen to the classics that get great reviews and ratings, then approach this with caution. It's a good album, but doesn't still reach the 'splendid pop' or the 'moderate prog' level. Sadly.

Passionist | 2/5 |


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