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Renaissance - Prologue CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.74 | 441 ratings

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3 stars Strange story around this band,formed in late-60's by ex-The Yardbirds Keith Relf and Jim McCarty and initially produced two decent Folk Rock albums.Between the two releases the band suffered from line-up changes with both founding members quiting after the first album and actually the second album features songs from both the old and fresh line- up.Around 1971 the driving force behind RENAISSANCE was Michael Dunford,as well as new manager Mike Copeland.The two men helped RENAISSANCE survive despite the presence of a total new line-up,headed by female singer Annie Haslam and pianist John Tout.Finally the third (but first with the fresh members) RENAISSANCE album saw the light in 1972 on EMI,with music composed by Dunford.

The turn of the band's sound to more Classical-inspired paths is evident from the excellent eponymous opener.Tout's classical piano battles with its jazzy middle section in a perfectly composed track with Haslam duplicating with a series of dreamy vocal chords.''Kiev'' seems like a ballad coming out of the band's first phase with nice mandolin and soft vocals,but that stands only until the middle,where Tout takes over again with some dramatic yet demanding piano passages.Great work by the rhythm section as well,while Hendry delivers a couple of nice electric explosions.I wish the band would maintain this high level until the end of the album.''Sounds of the sea'' is an exclusively piano-based atmospheric track,mainly composed around the voice of Haslam.Please notice the multi-vocal sections of this track,which remind me a lot of YES.Good but nothing extraordinary.

Time for the album's second round,which opens with ''Spare some love''.This is a track in a simple song format,featuring mostly acoustic instrumentation and carrying a typical late- 60's UK Psychedelic sound,but Tout saves it with his lovely piano.'' Bound for infinity'' features the best Haslam performance in a dreamy and romantic mood,obscure percussions by drummerTerry Sullivan,while Hendry's style is very close to the warm work of GENESIS' Anthony Phillips.''Rajah Khan'' clocks at 11 min. and starts with an Eastern- influenced opening section with deep bass,before Tout's piano and Monkman' synths transform it to a psychedelic trip.After the middle the track gets more adventuruous with some decent interplays,nice electric guitars yet maintaining its ethnic feeling.

The truth is I would love to see the band insisting on the style of the first two tracks,that means a piano-centered rock format with intricate passages and some sparse oneiric vocals.Still the album is very enjoyable and recommendable by a band getting really close to establish their own style.3.5 stars,a nice addition to your ollection.

apps79 | 3/5 |


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