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Renaissance - Novella CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.75 | 394 ratings

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4 stars Good release. Perfect for grey days.

I've enjoyed all of the band's recordings from the 1970s and find myself usually reaching for this one first because of the dark old-world mood prevalent throughout.

"Can You Hear Me" starts dynamically enough, then settles in to become an apparently uneventful piece, before it sneaks up on the listenner and turns out to be quite engaging with it's surprise-attack arrangement featuring a large orchestra. It seques into "The Sisters" which is a masterpiece of restraint with beautiful nylon guitar work, haunting keyboards and a tale of sorrowful missionaries in a barren land.

I can see where "Midas Man" would be considered boring because it tends to plod, but the 12-string-driven arrangement is chilling on a good audio system. This track got significant airplay on WMMR and WIOQ in Philadelphia when the album came out and was as close to a single as the album has.

"The Captive Heart" is a modest but absolutely gorgeous little song featuring fluid, lilting piano from Tout and multi-layered voices from Haslam and Camp.

Finally, "Touching Once is so Hard to Keep" is the big, bright, highly orchestrated number that would have sat well on any of the earlier offerings and sounds less somber than the rest of this collection.

Clearly, some people have panned this album as boring. I can only see why at a very superficial level. All tracks demonstrate high attention to detail, are beautifully performed and have strong, unique melodies.

| 4/5 |


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