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Twelfth Night - Twelfth Night XII [Aka: The Virgin Album] CD (album) cover


Twelfth Night



2.43 | 54 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars After releasing the mini-album 'Art & Illuision' with new lead singer Andy Sears in 1984, Twelfth night finally snared that major-label record deal they'd been craving. The band were signed to Richard Branson's Virgin label and immediately started work on what would become their second full-length album proper. Although 1981's 'Smiling At Grief' had ben released on cassette, it was, in actual fact, a collection of demo's designed to drum up interest in the fledgling band and therefore not really a proper 'studio' album. Several tracks from 'Smiling At Grief'' would re-surface in superior versions on the group's highly-rated 'Fact & Fiction' album from 1982, and, after vocalist Geoff Mann left the group a year later the band made a group decision to hold back songs that might have appeared on 'Art & Illusion' just in case a major label came calling. 'Art & Illusion' would see the band start to inch away from their overtly- progressive early 1980's Genesis-inspired sound to a more concise, hi-tech, radio-friendly style and the resulting self-titled album(something the band were very unhappy with) finally saw the light of day in 1986. It was meant to be their big break but, unfortunately, sales were disappointing, despite their loyal live following. The following year both Andy Sears and Clive Mitten, unhappy with the complete lack of direction and promotional strategy shown by Virgin, quit the band. It would prove to be the end of the road for the once promising five-piece, their decision to go 'commercial' awkwardly positioning the band between two very different stylistic stools. 'The Virgin Album', as it has now become known, proved to be too poppy for prog fans and too proggy for pop fans, and, despite the carefully-crafted 11-minute 'Take A Look' track on the album's second side - a track that, unlike many others on 'The Virgin Album', has regularly featured in Twelfth Night's live shows - the band seemed creatively exhausted. It would prove to be a sad and quiet end. Fans of the group's one-and-truely excellent album, the superb 'Fact & Fiction' which features the uniquely impressive vocals of Geoff Mann, are advised to look elsewhere for their neo-prog thrills. Try 'Live At The Target', the band's 1981 instrumental live album recorded just before Mann joined the group, instead, or, failing that, check out the likes of IQ's first two albums, 'Tales From The Luch Attic' from 1983 and the follow-up fo two years later 'The Wake', or Abel Ganz's excellent 1988 effort 'The Dangers Of Strangers'. Twelfth Night's career lasted barely 7 years but, in the process, they produced some excellent and influential prog music. Their career was a sadly-truncated one, and, unfortunately, that was due to weak, mainstream-courting albums such as this eponymously-titled affair. STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2010
stefro | 2/5 |


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