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Collage - Moonshine CD (album) cover





4.06 | 402 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars More of a fine malt than a bootleg

Having released a couple of respected if unremarkable albums in the early 1990's (including a John Lennon tribute), Polish neo-prog band Collage recorded what is widely acknowledged as their finest album in 1994. The sound here is pure neo-prog, so as long as that is one of your genres of choice you will be fine with this album.

The opening "Heroes cry" sets the scene in exemplary fashion, with floating mellotron like symphonic synths and plenty of lead guitar. The trembling vocals (reminiscent of Pallas) add fine atmosphere to a blending of the styles of bands such as Genesis, Pendragon and Arena. The 14 minute "In your eyes" which follows allows the band all the space they need to fully develop the piece into a beautifully lush suite. Here, the Genesis (circa "Wind and wuthering" especially) influences are more pronounced, particularly in the Hackett like guitar work of Mirek Gil, but there is no question of this simply being a derivative work.

The emphasis is very much on melody and sensitivity. There is nothing here which might be described as harsh. That is not to say the music is soft, or lacking in substance, the synth runs in the aforementioned "In your eyes" are every bit as exciting and dynamic as those by Tony Banks (a reasonable comparison in fact). The tracks flow together seamlessly, with "Lovely day" simply sounding like the next phase of "In your eyes".

After the enthrallingly lovely "Living in the moonlight", "The blues" offers another burst of very Hackett like lead guitar supported by symphonic synths. Two further tracks run to over 10 minutes. The first of these, "Wings in the night", manages to incorporate some pretty fiery synth and guitar yet retain an overall atmosphere of symphonic gentleness.

The title track, which runs to almost 13 minutes, is a bit heavier primarily due to the pounding bass line which pushes the vocals back in the mix slightly. This song is actually closer to the type of product which would be delivered by Collage's successors Satellite. The album closes with "War is over", an more straightforward number with an anthemic, repetitive hook.

For some, an album like this may be just a little too rich. It is perhaps the prog equivalent of a chocolate gateau, drenched in orchestral synths, smooth guitar and evolving melodies. Those like myself with a sweet tooth will however find this to be an absolute delight.

Easy Livin | 4/5 |


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