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Twelfth Night


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Twelfth Night Twelfth Night XII [Aka: The Virgin Album] album cover
2.48 | 52 ratings | 9 reviews | 10% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1986

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Last Song (4:27)
2. Pressure (3:39)
3. Jungle (4:16)
4. The Craft (4:36)
5. Blue Powder Monkey (5:07)
6. Theatre (3:48)
7. Shame (4:13)
8. This Is War (3:45)
9. Take A Look (11:35)

Total time 45:26

Bonus tracks on 2005 remaster:
10. Blondon Fair (6:03)
11. Shame (Full Mix) (5:50)
12. Take A Look (4:19)
13. Blue Powder Monkey (Rough Mix) (4:46)
14. This Is War (Rough Mix) (3:48)
15. The Craft (Rough Mix) (4:47)

Line-up / Musicians

- Andy Sears / vocals
- Andy Revell / guitars
- Rick Battersby / keyboards
- Clive Mitten / bass, guitar (9)
- Brian Devoil / drums, percussion

- U.K. Orchestras Ltd. / strings (4)
- Jonathan Sorrell / keyboard programming
- Ken Campbell / keyboard programming
- John L. Walters / arrangements, producer

Releases information

Artwork: David Chandler

LP Virgin ‎- CASG 1174 (1986, UK)

CD Charisma ‎- CASCDR 1174 (2005, UK) Remastered by Peter Mew with 6 bonus tracks

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy TWELFTH NIGHT Twelfth Night XII [Aka: The Virgin Album] Music

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Fact & FictionFact & Fiction
Festival Music/F2 2018
$34.71 (used)
Twelfth Night 2018
$15.00 (used)
Live & Let LiveLive & Let Live
Festival Records 2012
$22.99 (used)
Art & Illusion: Definitive EditionArt & Illusion: Definitive Edition
CD Baby 2010
Live at the Target: Definitive EditionLive at the Target: Definitive Edition
Festival Records 2012
$28.83 (used)
Smiling at Grief: The Definitive EditionSmiling at Grief: The Definitive Edition
Extra tracks · Special Edition
F2 Music 2009
Night To RememberNight To Remember
Twelfth Night 2019

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TWELFTH NIGHT Twelfth Night XII [Aka: The Virgin Album] ratings distribution

(52 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(10%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(13%)
Good, but non-essential (44%)
Collectors/fans only (23%)
Poor. Only for completionists (10%)

TWELFTH NIGHT Twelfth Night XII [Aka: The Virgin Album] reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
1 stars Uuughh ... What is this? I'd rather listen to DURAN DURAN's "New Religion" of "Rio" album than listening to this record. I don't understand which segment of this record is classified as prog? Is it because the date of release was close to MARILLION's "Misplaced Childhood" where dozens of bands were following The MARILLION pathway? Give me a break!

If you are new to prog rock and given this album to enjoy, I bet you would say that prog is punk or new wave. Believe me. This record is heavily influenced by DURAN DURAN, ORCHESTRAL MANOUVER IN THE DARK and the like. So now, forget about prog for a moment ... Some tracks worths listening are "Take a Look", "Shame". One thing that I notice with this record is that the music seems like being "forced" or something so that it does not flow nicely. IMHO. Sorry for die hard fans of the band. - Gatot Widayanto, Indonesia.

Review by Matti
3 stars Gatot's one-star judgement sure looks lonely, but mostly I review this for the sake of teenage nostalgia. There was a time ('87) when I was a Marillion fan and actually knew nothing about Neo-Prog in general. 12th Night's live album was introduced by a friend, and some time later I bought this obscure-named (X? IIX? XII? - just 'Twelfth Night'? Ok, if you say so) album. As my Marillion LP's were already becoming overlistened to, I was delighted to find another band of that type. BTW, ratings here surprise me a little: 2,2 (5 ratings) for this and 4,75 (8 ratings) for Live And Let Live - a huge difference, but I didn't feel them that distant from each other, even with the different singers, Geoff Mann and Andy Sears. 'Sequences' was my favourite TN song but 'Take a Look' was close behind. It's a long closing track that changes its atmosphere several times.

What comes to side one, I agree with Gatot: I prefer Duran Duran's Rio! 'Jungle' could be one of the worst Duran songs, 'Pressure' as well. 'The Craft' is like Marillion's 'Jigsaw' without choruses and guitar solo. But on the 2nd side it gets whole lot better. 'Theatre' and 'Shame' are pretty good, energic 80's art rock songs with a fine sound. Short and dark-spirited 'This Is War' is a perfect bridge into the modern digital dystopia of 'Take a Look'. Otherwise gorgeous track just extends its climax too long - and that's where Sears' rascal-like voice gets annoying.

This represents a very short period in my prog history - soon I concentrated on Genesis and other 70's classics and got tired of Marillion and 12th Night. I still may listen to the highlights for that nostalgia, and then bury this in my LP pile for years again. So, not exactly recommended in the 21st century, but not one to avoid like plague either.

Review by stefro
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
Review by lazland
3 stars This band, along with Marillion, Pallas, and IQ were at the forefront of the new wave of prog which commenced in the UK in the 1980's. Arguably, you could state that they were the least successful, and certainly the least resilient.

I remember buying this upon release, absolutely transfixed by the album cover, which is about as luxurious as it gets.

The music? Well, it has received a bit of a panning in the reviews on the site, and, by and large, much of it is forgettable, basically being an attempt at commercial music tinged with neo prog. It's not bad, it's just that much of it is simply not good enough, and, certainly, Jungle sounds much like any 1980's pop band of the time.

However, the album, and, thus, its rating is redeemed by two exceptional tracks, which, in my opinion, if they were the only two tracks on it, would merit at least a 4.5 star rating.

These are the single released, Blue Powder Monkey, and the epic closer, Take A Look. In addition, I quite like The Craft, which is a very good pop song, which is not a bad thing in my book.

Blue Powder Monkey gallops along at a fair old pace, and the chorus is frenetic. It is a clever track, and I would actually put it up against any single released by Marillion at this heady time for that band, high praise coming from me indeed. There are some great guitar licks in this, and Sears carries it by an incredible vocal performance. Toe tapping, great fun, it should have done more at the time of release.

However, the one that really does make you want to stand up and take notice, and make you wonder what might have been, is Take A Look, an epic track clocking in at over 11 minutes. This is, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the finest neo prog tracks ever released. The intensity of this track simply never lets up, and it is, surprisingly, given what went on before, pure and utter prog, with absolutely no nod to fashion whatsoever. From a slow, ponderous, thoughtful, opening, the main background riff develops, and Sears, when he enters, tells in a very caustic fashion, his take on modern society and technology. The chorus is one of those rare ones that makes you outstretch your arms and sing along at top voice, and the rush of the track with all of the band moving along at a frenetic pace is wonderful.

This album is probably now regarded as more of a curiousity as much as anything else, but I, for one, was very glad to revisit it when i converted the original vinyl to digital. There is, by the way, a remastered CD with bonus tracks on issue, but I cannot comment on this as I have never heard it.

Three stars for an album from a band who promised much, but, ultimately, delivered far too little. If you can download it, I would recommend downloading the standout tracks.

Review by ZowieZiggy
1 stars The last studio album from "Twelfth Night" is no big deal. But very few of their works were able to attract me. Only their sophomore work "Fact & Fiction" reached the three star level so far. And this one won't get any close to this rating.

It is true that the music featured sounds more new wave than prog. You might know that I quite appreciated these new wave days (77 through 80), but this album was released in '86 and I quite don't understand the purpose of getting back to early "Ultravox!" sounds ("Last Song") or "Duran Duran" ones during "Pressure". Not a great start, I'm afraid.

Some cheap world music influence for "Jungle" is just adding to the feel so far. Actually, the whole of this album is useless. There are very, very little prog moments available (a good guitar break during the pitiful "The Craft" maybe). This album is quite weak and there is no reason to bother if I were you.

Highlights are non-existing. Even a good track is difficult to find. And the long closing number won't save the bill. Nothing prog here. Poor music. One star.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
3 stars The first song (on the last album) is the last song

This self-titled album from 1986 would be the last studio release by Twelfth Night to date. While in many ways it reminds of typical British Neo-Prog of that time (perhaps especially the Paul Menel years of IQ), it also has hints of Post Punk/New Wave and maybe a bit of U2. Compared to Fact And Fiction, the present album is much better produced and more polished and thus comes across as more professional. The vocals are handled by Andy Sears and not by the (to many) legendary Geoff Mann. To my ears, Sears is doing a good job here.

My introduction to Twelfth Night was their recent live DVD MMX on which four songs from this album are performed. Three of these are worthy of special mention; the opener Last Song (yes, they open the album with the "last" song!), the symphonic ballad The Craft and the nearly 12 minute closer Take A Look. All three sound better on the live DVD than they do here, but they still manage to lift this album. The rest of the songs are rather average, not bad but not very memorable either.

A rather average album with some good moments

Latest members reviews

4 stars Great album! When I heard it 19 years ago I didn't like it. I was dissapointed. Some days ago I bought CD release and I falled in love with it. It's great. Yes, some DuranDuran and Van Halen influenced, but it's still wonderful TN. Fantastic melodies, awesome arrangement and realization. Craf ... (read more)

Report this review (#62873) | Posted by janus | Monday, January 2, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I have been waiting the release of this album on CD for several years and have at last bought it, listened to it, and loved it. Geoff Mann was one of the finest lyricists and vocalists of the neo-prog era. Indeed after leaving TN, he went on to attain equal heights with Casino, The Bond, A Geof ... (read more)

Report this review (#46513) | Posted by scarista | Tuesday, September 13, 2005 | Review Permanlink

1 stars Being a huge fan of this band in the 80s, I was saddened by the departure of lead singer and inspiration Geoff Mann. However, all was not lost as the band were to continue with a new singer (Andy Sears), managed to cut a record deal with Virgin, (so it seemed finally they'd 'made it') and I aw ... (read more)

Report this review (#46493) | Posted by scouser14 | Tuesday, September 13, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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