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Renaissance - Renaissance CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.75 | 355 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
3 stars Renaissance produced some high quality albums over the years and this debut kicks off to a rollicking good start. This lineup was short lived but is a consistent force on this album. Keith Relf is a fine guitarist and harmonica player. Jim McCarty and Jane Relf are percussionists, with Jane also on vocals, John Hawken is wonderful on piano and harpsichord, and Louis Cennamo kepps it together on the bass. Obviously Renaissance fans familiar with other albums would miss the soaring crystalline high octaves of Annie Haslam, but this is where the band began and it is a terrific debut with very progressive moments. The Yardbirds sound is noticeable as members of the band Keith Relf and Jim McCarty were involved with the iconic sixties group on the earlier albums. Kings And Queens begins the album with manic piano lines and majestic sounds lasting for almost 11 minutes. The drums soon lock into a progressive hypnotic time sig and the male vocals are well sung; "fantasy turning into truth." There are classical influences and psychedelic sounds in equal measure, with free form improvisational sections. The structure is innovative taking detours into other styles and then bringing it back to the main motif.

Innocence is a 7 minute track with hypnotic guitar figures that are exemplary to the psychedelic sound of the sixties. Island is led well by Jane Relf who may not be on a par with Annie Haslam but still can reach high notes and sings beautifully. It builds to a great piano led instrumental break with Beethoven nuances and the bass follows along precisely all the complex musical figures.

Wanderer features a chaotic time sig and some medieval sounds on harpsichord, that have an old King Arthurish feel, as did many Renaissance albums to come. Jane produces gorgeous vocals again with very high octaves.

Bullet is another lengthy track of almost 12 minutes with jamming and improvisational instrumentation. It closes the album with a massive sound of guitar, piano and pounding drums. Keith Relf takes on vocals and sounds decidedly bluesy. Overall this is a solid debut signifying great things to come from one of the most influential prog legendary bands standing at the dawn of prog.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 3/5 |


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