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Renaissance Time-Line album cover
1.59 | 147 ratings | 17 reviews | 2% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1983

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Flight (4:06)
2. Missing Persons (3:34)
3. Chagrin Boulevard (4:22)
4. Richard IX (3:38)
5. The Entertainer (4:44)
6. Electric Avenue (4:55)
7. Majik (3:09)
8. Distant Horizons (3:56)
9. Orient Express (3:54)
10. Autotech (5:21)

Total Time: 41:39

Line-up / Musicians

- Annie Haslam / lead & backing vocals
- Michael Dunford / acoustic & electric guitars, backing vocals
- Jon Camp / bass, guitar, lead (10), co-lead (1,3,6) & backing vocals

- Peter Gosling / keyboards
- Eddie Hardin / keyboards
- Nick Magnus / keyboards
- Bimbo Acock / saxophones
- Dave Thomson / trumpet
- Peter Barron / drums
- Ian Mosley / drums

Releases information

Artwork: Graham Humphreys (design) with Brian Aris (photo)

LP IRS Records - SP70033 (1983, US)

CD HTD Records - HTDCD 42 (1995, UK)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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RENAISSANCE Time-Line ratings distribution

(147 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(2%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(2%)
Good, but non-essential (14%)
Collectors/fans only (32%)
Poor. Only for completionists (50%)

RENAISSANCE Time-Line reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Joolz
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
1 stars This is the death throes of a once great Prog band as it struggles for survival in the changing world of the early 1980s. No Prog left here of course, nor any vestige of the melodic mini-epics they had once been so good at, just a very average bunch of generic pop-rock and rock-lite AOR, utterly unoriginal and depressingly uninteresting. At best some of these songs are not too bad: Flight has nice mellow vocals and inventive arrangement; Richard The IX gets a bit ploddy but has a catchy chorus; The Entertainer has some good piano but sounds a bit like Genesis; Orient Express is more lively and features horns. The rest are sadly very average indeed with mechanical sounding beats, uninteresting keyboard based arrangements and forgettable melodies. Even Camera Camera was better than this.

Sadly, Annie's distinctive voice couldn't save this one. Often she sounds forced or uncomfortable, floundering on a lee shore with a falling tide, adopting some unfamiliar and unwelcome vocal mannerisms in her efforts to 'do pop'. The whole thing is summed-up by the album cover - an air-brushed picture of the trio with Duran Duran perms and false swagger. Time-Line is devoid of character, something to make it stand out from the thousands of other faceless 'artists' making this kind of sound. If you like this kind of thing then go get some Duran Duran!

Review by Tarcisio Moura
1 stars My goodness, no! I canīt believe this is the same Renaissance that produced such classics albums like Ashes Are Burning or Turn Of The Cards. Well, it is not. At least drummer Terry Sullivan and keyboards player John Tout were out of this pit. And Time-Line is even worse than Camera, Camera, which was at the time, their worst ever LP. Jon Camp tried to turn Renaissance into a new wave pop band and the result is a total failure. Annie Haslamīs great, unique, trained voice, is not suited for this kind of music and the songs themselves are just mediocre, with some few, very few, exceptions. Thank god I did not buy this record. I canīt recommend Time-Line to anyone, except to those hardcore fans who have to have everything the band released, even total turkeys like this one. Stay away from it if you like the classic Renaissnce.
Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
1 stars 1997 Repertoire reissue of their 1983 & last studio album, featuring lead singer Annie Haslam and 10 commercially accessible tracks, mostly composed by bassist John Camp and guitarist/ songwriter Michael Dunford. Includes 'The Enter- tainer', from the 1995 compilation 'Da Capo'. (Amazon). As far as progressive music journey, this is the death of Renaissance because there is no such thing as "progressive" music with respect to any song contained in this album. Most (almost all) songs featured in this album is like an R&B with disco flavor for dancing in Euro pop fashion. I understand that in early eighties most prog bands ent new wave with Genesis releasing "abacab" and Yes releasing "90125" as the era was a survival era for prog music. Looking at the cover itself I could judge that this is definitely a new wave influenced kind of music. You can see at how the band dressed which looked like punk / new wave style (Duran Duran, Ultravox, B 52s .. all bands of new wave era).

Personally, I do not enjoy this album at all but even though I knew that, I still purchased the CD. Am I stupid? It could be. My rationale at the time was that I had a full collection of all Renaissance albums, why not completing it with this album even though the cassette version that had showed that the music is really bad. Even if I use non prog spectacle, I still consider this as a bleak. If you just really want to buy dance music album, do not consider this as one of your choices. It's better you find other artist to perform the kind of dance music you like.

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
1 stars Time to draw a line

Up until the band's reformation in 2000, "Time line" was the final studio album by Renaissance. The 1990's releases under the Renaissance name were officially by Michael Dunford's Renaissance, and did not feature Annie Haslam. "Time line" was also the first album since the early years not to contain lyrics by Betty Thatcher-Newsinger, Jon Camp taking on lyric writing duties for this album. Released in 1983, "Time line" was undoubtedly the most radical change of style the band had undertaken in their entire history. While on "Camera camera", the credits implied the band were a five piece outfit, here they confirm that they are in fact a trio with a number of guest musicians.

Things actually get off to a pretty orthodox start, with the big sounding ballad "Flight" having many of the familiar symphonic sounds of traditional Renaissance. The synth pop which invaded the previous album soon returns though, reaching a new low on "Richard IX", which sounds like an Abba reject covered by Kim Wilde. It really is a tragedy to hear such a talented trio sinking so low. "Electric Avenue" is the other nadir, even by electro-pop standards it is poor.

Much of the album is inoffensive AOR tinged pop rock. The underlying quality is often discernible, but ruthlessly suppressed. "The entertainer" for example is clearly a Renaissance song, with great vocals and synth orchestration, but it is wrapped up in a cloak of sugary pop. The lyrical deficiencies are less apparent, but "Political intervention is something we shouldn't mention" ("Distant horizons") would never have been sung by our Annie in Mrs (Betty) Thatcher's day.

John Camp enjoys a rare outing to centre stage, providing lead vocal on the closing "Auto-tech". Unfortunately, this only serves to remove one of the few positives of the other tracks, i.e. Annie Haslam's voice. The song sounds rather like a reject from ELO's "Time" album.

In all, not an album to get the Renaissance faithful excited by any means. Even if we try our best to forget which band is performing here, and thus manage our expectations, the content is at best mediocre.

By the way, Marillion fans will be interested to learn that Ian Mosley plays drums on some tracks, although he may not thank me for mentioning it.

The sleeve image portrays a trio ready to enter the Eurovision Song contest, the hairdryers apparently being on full blast at the time.

Review by kenethlevine
2 stars You will recall that "Azure D'Or" was the goose that ate the golden egg laid by "A Song for All Seasons". Likewise, "Time Line" earns the dubious honour of beating a retreat from the advances made by the excellent "Camera Camera". It did so in a similar manner, by sticking to only shorter songs that lacked the requisite accessibility. This is Renaissance sounding like a lot of contemporary bands. Yet, unlike Azure D'Or, some of these numbers grow in stature with repeated listening, although it is admittedly hard to imagine many people on progarchives who would give this more than one airing! Moreover, the overall decline between albums was much less pronounced here since the bar was not set nearly as high.

The opener is actually a throwback to Renaissance Mach 1 in its combination of male and female vocals that I enjoy so much. It lives up to its title and helps the album take "Flight". "Missing Persons" and "Chagrin Boulevard" are both pretty fair new romantic styled tunes, and Richard the IX shows how versatile this formation is. The chorus is hard to shake. "The Entertainer" is one of the only other tracks that vaguely recalls the old Renaissance. It does suffer from a general pattern, apparent in the promising "Distant Horizons", of starting better than it ends. The old group would generally start slowly and bring you to an ecstatic appreciation level, but this incarnation gives all the good stuff at once, and then teaches the listener to accept what follows, with middling success.

Not a complete schlemazzle by any means, this 1982 effort pretty much confirmed that, in spite of a concerted effort, Renaissance missed its final time line. 2.5 stars rounded down.

Review by ZowieZiggy
1 stars While I was listening to the opening number, I was relatively surprised. Not too bad. Annie is still shining (vocally, I mean, because the album cover is somewhat weird). It is not a great song but when I saw all those low ratings I didn't think to be able to such an honourable track.

The last effort of the band was not really exciting either and in those eighties dark prog days, there was little great to expect from Renaissance. A song as "Missing Persons" is of course on the pop edge but I have listened to worse than that on "Camera Camera".

Things get worse with "Chagrin Boulevard" even if at times, Annie is still able to charm the listener; but the syrupy chorus reminds that awful disco beat. And the worse is probably achieved with the disgusting "Richard IX". Dreadful beat and chorus (backing vocals are really poor as well). Press nextT.

A breathe of fresh air with "Entertainer" which at least offers some genuine "Renaissance" moments: crafted music and pleasant vocals are there to remind us that the band can still write decent songs. But these moments aren't many here.

The well named "Electric Avenue" is the perfect song to leave the room and go to the toilet. Electro-pop, indeed. And not the greatest one. But maybe that your visit to the loom will be long enough (five minutes) to be able to have escaped it. Otherwise it will be a VERY painful experience.

To fill the next three minutes, I suggest you to go and get a drink (preferably downstairs if possible). It is the length of the next "Majik". Not magic at all, believe me.This album is a real blunder almost all the way through. Miserable music, no melody not to speak about inspiration of course. This one is next door.

The last three "songs" won't do any good to your poor ears, I'm afraid. Another long press nextT exercise. The life of a reviewer is hard at times.To be able to bear these brass on Orient Express is quite an experience. And the weak closing number Auto-Tech is just another useless song.

I am fully in-line with my fellow colleagues: one star (the maximum rating for such effort).

Review by b_olariu
2 stars Well , well what we have here is a pop album in a true sens of the word, no more polished pop with prog leanings, only pop with almost all pieces to be unenjoyble. I find it not realy bad as a whole, the voice of Haslan still shines on some pieces, the bass of Jon Camp did a good job, but the problem is they suffered in ideas, it's not a problem to combine pop with prog but the new concept, the new aproach is terrible here, they've melted with the new generation of new wave bands on this album, and left entirely the prog behind. It's like we listen to a brand new pop band just release a first album in 1983 named Time line. It's true this is realy the line for them, the bottom line. All the piece has same characteristics , so not a single one in front , at least for me, not realy realy bad , but nothing special either. This album is for collectors or fans, and because I'm a fan of this band I have it and quite enjoy it in places, not entirely bad but as a whole desearves 2 stars, but no more tyhan that. A mediocre and by far the weakest Renaissance release from a band that 10 years ago - 1973 were on the top of prog music with album Ashes are burning - now they are only ashes.
Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
1 stars The three faces on the album's cover seem to be asking "Hey chap, are you really sure that you want to buy this album? Don't do it!" I'd never thought possible that Renaissance were able to make anything worse than Camera Camera.

"Flight" is not very bad, but why is Annie Haslam singing on the pitch of Barry White? Has she lost her 5th octave?

Who are the "Missing Persons"? Jon Tout, maybe? This song starts midway between the Police and the Clash before entering a chorus with a ridicoulous bass line. The way the song fades out is ridicoulous as well.

"Chagrin Boulevard" starts with a guitar solo that goes nowhere and doesn't have anything to do with the rest of the song. There's a few of the old Renaissance until the chorus that's probably the poorest thing that I've heard from this band until now. Camel's "No Easy Answer" is a masterpiece compared to this stuff.

"Richard the IX"...they should have stopped at the VIII. A very poor electro-pop song. It could have been a summer's hit if released 10 years before by ABBA. Now it's also out of time.

"Entertainer" sounds like Lene Lovich but without her artsy vocalisms. If I think to what Annie Haslam was capable of...not the worst track of the album. At least this is listenable and Annie places a couple of "acuto" at the end.

The title of the following track says everything. After an opening on Kraftwrek's style that doesn't have anything to do with Renaissance but it's not bad, they start singing and this is the lowest moment of the album and probably of their whole career.

"Majik" is not totally bad. Not a good reason to buy this disc, anyway.

On "Distant Horizons" we can hear Jon Camp playing a good bass. The melody is quite poor but this could be an average Kayak's song. One of the few rare things that may be saved.

After all this stuff, why not a bit of disco-funky? Let Annie sing like Blondie on a funky base with some brasses behind and it's done. Very, very bad. If I have to listen to this stuff I prefer looking to Motown artists.

"Auto-Tech" could be nice if performed by the DEVO. There's just a short interlude with traces of symphonic prog. I think to songs like Mother Russia or Ashes Are Burning, how can a band go so low ? The only good thing is that after this album they stopped for 12 years. I don't know the album released in 1995, but looking at PA ratings it doesn't seem to be too much different from this one so I don't think I'll purchase it. It means that I won't review ALL the Renaissance's studio albums.

Stay away from this one.

Review by ClemofNazareth
1 stars 'Time-Line' essentially marked the end of the line for Renaissance as a viable band. The core trio of Annie Haslam, guitarist Michael Dunford and bassist Jon Camp were all that remained following a poorly-received 'Camera Camera' in 1981 that featured keyboardist Peter Gosling and drummer Peter Barron. Both of them also show up on this album but not as official band members; in fact, the liner notes on the CD version specifically list the band as consisting of Haslam, Dunford and Camp alone. And neither Gosling nor Barron play on the entire album, Renaissance having augmented them with a couple brass instruments and at least two other keyboardists including Nick Magnus, formerly of the Enid and Autumn as well as Steve Hackett's band.

These songs are pretty much all written by Jon Camp, who had been gradually assuming the songwriting role since their 1979 release 'Azure d'Or'. Dunford is credited with several instrumental arrangements but the lyrics are all Camp, Betty Thatcher having signed off with the band following their prior album 'Camera Camera'. The music is decidedly eighties fare, with dance beats, shallow synthesized keyboards for the most part, and rather vapid lyrics. The first several tunes including "Flight", "Missing Persons" and "Chagrin Boulevard" all seem to have vague themes of rocky personal relationships and general angst, while "Richard IX" is easily the shallowest piece of schlock the band ever recorded, followed closely by the lackluster "Majik".

The lyrics get a bit better as the album wears on, or at least are better suited to Haslam's wide-ranging vocal talents. Musically the entire record seems to be an almost embarrassing attempt to garner some radio play and probably a bit of MTV rotation as well. At least Camp manages a few clever bass riffs, especially on "Orient Express" and the Gary- Numan-meets-Georgio-Moroder "Auto-Tech" to close the album.

The band was pretty much ready to pack it in at this point, or at least they should have been. Jon Camp would depart shortly after the supporting tour and Haslam and Dunford would soldier on for a couple more years with a revolving touring lineup but no record contract. By the late eighties even that venture would peter out with both Haslam and Dunford moving on to field their own respective versions of Renaissance while their minders and former labels began the process of cranking out retrospectives, compilations and old live recordings. The Mk II lineup of the band (minus Camp) would reunite for a respectable release ('Tuscany') a decade later, but for the time being this would be the weak ending for what was once a formidable musical entity. I'm tempted to at least give this two stars but given what the band should have been capable of even in their weakened state I have to say that this one only deserves a single star and no recommendation at all.


Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
1 stars Look out! here comes a heaping stinking pile of eighties music!

Here is a band in the death throes of the nineteen eighties music scene. The once mighty Renaissance broken down by the major record labels refusal to allow bands to add any intelligence to their music, and the popular music press colluding in convincing the cocaine addled plastic hipsters that any sort of art in music is dreadfully prententious.

I can imagine that the recording industry had Renaissance's integrity on display in one of their lobbies, right near the jar containing Derek Shulman's testicles.

It's really a shame that band as great as Renaissance was reduced to releasing something as pitiful as a Genesis 80's album, and didn't even get a hit from it.

Should I even mention the cover?

Review by Tom Ozric
3 stars Righty-Oh !! The 80's weren't the best time for Progressive bands (duh) - but what I'm going to say is that this album is worth 2.7 stars with my perception because what I can still hear on this Pop oriented affair is an acceptable dose of complexity, especially regarding Jon Camp's admirable bass playing, certain arrangements of various tunes, and Annie Haslam's vocals maintaining a degree of 'Majik'. I'm just playing my LP now as it has been quite some time since I have given it an airing. Sure there are some clunkers like the bouncy 'Richard the IX', complete with lame wa-wa-waooo backing vocals. Spare me. Album opener, 'Flight', gets things off to a great start - Annie in fine form, music arranged with tricky time-sigs and a sort of 'big' and impressive vibe. It has to be noted that folks like Ian Mosley (Marillion) and Nick Magnus (Steve Hackett's band at the time) helped out here on drums and keyboards. Of course, fault shouldn't be directed at the quality of the playing, more so the nature of the songwriting, being commercially motivated and a far cry from the level of such epics as 'Mother Russia' or even 'Day of the Dreamer'. At least on the cover photo they looked 'cooler' than on the previous Camera-Camera release (Camp looking as if he dropped ten years off his age, Annie has ditched her 'Annie' pendant and donned a denim jacket, Michael Dunford almost sports a slight smirk.....). A song like 'Electric Avenue' starts out well with some incredible bass-licks but morphs into an uber-cool new-wave song. Things like 'The Entertainer', 'Distant Horizons' and 'Auto-Tech' do show some glints of the good old days. Overall, I may be more forgiving with this album than most, but ultimately it's not essential. I'll tick the 3 star box at the risk of receiving a stack of hate-mail........
Review by ALotOfBottle
1 stars Renaissance, once a renowned and ambitious symphonic prog act took the turn that sadly all too many bands of the genre have taken at one point or another in the late seventies and eighties. Yes produced disco radio-friendly hits, Genesis got to things in the area similar to Yes, Emerson Lake & Palmer produced the pop sell-out Love Beach while Mike Oldfield recorded dance music with techno strains. Renaissance was no exception. Time-Line is probably the worst album in the band's discography. Mike Dunford's guitar solos are not unskillful by any means, but are being put in a scenario that makes me cringe. While listening to the band's previous works, you wouldn't be able to imagine Annie Haslam's voice in such terrible music. All in all, this is a complete junk, I recommend you stay away from this!

Latest members reviews

1 stars This record is terrible; I adore this band, but they were clearly slip sloping downwards. Time-Line their eleventh pop-oriented studio album. They started slowly steeply downwards starting with the two albums before this one. The only two good things are, the first one being her voice sounding ... (read more)

Report this review (#2650260) | Posted by Mspy1 | Tuesday, December 7, 2021 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Time-Line is actually a pretty good pop album. There's really no aspect of this album that would irritate the common listener, though still it's a thorn under a progheads toenail. Badly said, but tells a lot about the album in my opinion. It's pretty entertaining and light. The only irritating thing ... (read more)

Report this review (#180814) | Posted by Passionist | Monday, August 25, 2008 | Review Permanlink

3 stars A strange album, I'll say that. It was even more into the synthasizers than Camera Camera. Time Line was Renaissance's last album until Tuscany (which was quite good!). It is quite weird sounding, though still catchy-ish. It was Renaissance's weakest album, drawn far into the commercial sound ... (read more)

Report this review (#107177) | Posted by rainbow111 | Thursday, January 11, 2007 | Review Permanlink

1 stars This is the release where Renaissance hit bottom. They hit the slippy slope down with the previous release, 'Camera, Camera', but that album at least had some ties to the classic Renaissance sound and some outstanding vocal performances. 'Time-Line' is filled with lots of throw away new-waveish ... (read more)

Report this review (#74230) | Posted by | Thursday, April 6, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I like the song Richard IX. It is a catchy song: I caught it. I especially like Annie's voice. I like the use of voices as instruments of harmony in the background just as Ray Conniff has used voices for harmony. I hope the group makes a comeback. Annie's voice should have made her a wealthy star a ... (read more)

Report this review (#20122) | Posted by | Wednesday, January 14, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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