And I intend to do more, at least one more, very soon. Thanks, dude. Anyway, once again, nice review, e.
Digging: Cut Copy - Freeze, Melt. In relation to Camp I agree that he always was a terrific bassist. As I wrote on my review, the great stars of Renaissance always were Haslam and Dunford due to the voice and the song writting of Closer Than Yesterday - Renaissance (4) - A Song For All Seasons (Vinyl group.
But of course we maustn't forget the incredible work of Tout too. Anyway, I think they were always great as a whole. Thanks Diva. It must be great have a wife as an artist. She hasn't really sung in a few years now. But her bands were a fun part of our lives. Even the rehearsals were great. Those are rememberings unforgettable that will make part of your lives forever.
This is for sure. What an incredible experience, indeed! I need to explore this band more. Have a pos. Do you plan on reviewing some later Renaissance material? About the track mentioned by you of "Morningrise" from Opeth, I never thought about it. I need to check it again, and then, I tell you something later. Actualy, it will be the Album) of my next review. Album is still near from the quality of their golden era, but ''Back Home Once Again'' and ''She is Love'' are more like fillers imo.
The opener and ''Day of the Dreamer'' would not be out of place in one of their classic albums. The latter is probably my favorite of the album. The last epic song is also gorgeous. Good review, my friend. Once more time I agree with you my friend. Rather, the nostalgic and somewhat jingoistic "Northern Lights" seemed to strike a chord with a UK audience that to this point had largely shunned the band.
That song seemed to cut through this skepticism and gave folks back home something to appreciate even as Renaissance continued to ply their trade most heavily in the States where they had amassed a measurable East Coast following. In the U. The landscape was quickly changing but it seems there was enough time left for one more majestic prog-rock record, and an argument could be made that this was the one.
The album opener, appropriately-titled "Opening Out" makes an immediate statement by the band with a light keyboard and string sequence followed by an explosion of fat drums, orchestral strings and Camp sporting a new bass that gave his notes more of a guitar-like sound than on prior albums.
The pompous arrangement reminds me quite a bit of the sort of stuff Kansas, Styx, the Moody Blues and even Pink Floyd were filling the airwaves with around the same time, and its not at all surprising that American audiences were quickly smitten with the big, bold sound of this album.
This is progressive music at its finest, a swirling blend of strings, brass, layers upon layers of keyboards and fat bass, brash percussion and the ever-present plucking of Dunford's acoustic guitar. Annie Haslam's angelic vocals are almost an anti-climax here, and frankly this song would have been almost as strong even as an instrumental.
The magic continues with the even bolder and more spacious "The Day of the Dreamer", at nearly ten minutes one of the longer Renaissance tracks from their later years. While 'Novella' tended toward a more subdued and bleak sound, this song at least is much more like a celebration of music with an unabashed blend of tempo shifts, bombastic keyboard forays and frenetic orchestral passages that in retrospect seem to be almost defying the changing times and industry shift to simpler, less technically impressive punk and soft-rock pop.
The shift to an aggressive funky arrangement four minutes in is quickly followed by a softer transition to scattered percussion and Tout's lush piano a minute or so later, setting the stage for one of Haslam's best vocal deliveries that almost rivals Jon Anderson's most dramatic performances circa 'Relayer'.
This is a gorgeous throwback tune, one that even today takes the listener back to the heyday of progressive rock when idealistic lyrics, technical virtuosity and a general lack of concern for hurrying through a musical score were the things that so endeared fans to the genre in the first place. This song borders on an anthem, and probably could have been one with a few more minutes of instrumental interlude. Camp is all over "Kindness at the End ", not surprisingly since it is a song he composed and one that is initially almost tunnel-focused on complex rhythms and big percussion before making way to Tout's finger-stretching keyboard passage and Camp himself on vocals.
This is one of those prototypical early seventies-sounding idealistic numbers along the lines of classic Moody Blues and demonstrates the band could deliver a solid folk- tinged rocker even without Haslam, although wisely they restricted that demonstration to this one song. The entire band contributed to "Back Home Once Again", a slightly more commercial- sounding composition that nonetheless fits well on the album and reveals hints of the direction they would subsequently take in the studio.
This is the one song here that would not rank among the finest in their catalog, but still measures above anything else on record store shelves at the time. Thatcher provided the lyrics for the remaining three tracks and as a result the overall mood shifts to a decidedly more English feel with restrained string passages, sparse piano and a much slower tempo starting with the subdued and brief "She is Love". Hard to believe though as the melodic, rhythmic opening and Haslam's dominating vocals with precise echoing made this an easy and obvious choice for a radio hit.
The nostalgic, distinctly English lyrics clearly struck a chord with the band's fans back home and helped to rocket this one to a Top place on the singles charts there.
The song is clearly what drove the album up the UK charts despite the fact this incarnation of the band had never had a charting record in the UK before. Musically "Northern Lights" holds it own on the album despite a much simpler layout that favors bass, acoustic guitar and harmonizing backing vocals behind Haslam as opposed to Album) intricate orchestral arrangements that dominate the rest of the record.
And in true Renaissance fashion the band closes with an epic-length, pompous orgy of tempo-shifting musical explosions with the title track that ends the album. Drummer Terry Sullivan is credited on this song but in reality he mostly penned only the opening while Camp and Dunford fleshed it out into what would become something of a swan-song to the band's classically-inspired prog-rock background. Haslam covers virtually every octave in her range at one point or another, while Camp grounds each progressive shift in the arrangements and Tout breaks out every keyboard in his arsenal for a piece that seems to cover most of the band's musical history in just over ten minutes.
It would never get better than this, and one has to wonder whether the group knew it as they put the finishing touches on the song and the album. I don't rate very many albums as true five-star masterpieces and to be honest there are a couple things that could have led me to dialing this one back just a bit, most notably "Back Home Once Again" which is very good but not masterful.
The album artwork could have been more imaginative as well, especially considering the band was known to that point for great attention to their packaging. But it's what's inside that counts, not the cover.
And one song, unless its filler or a real stinker, shouldn't mark an entire album either. So five stars it is, and the strongest recommendation I can possibly make for a Renaissance album.
If you've never heard the band or just want to find that one album that defines their classic sound most accurately, this is the one. I'd also recommend the first Renaissance album even though it features an entirely different lineup, but this is the one every Renaissance fan, nay every progressive music fan, needs to have in their collection.
The band had just released four albums ploughing the same furrow - Ashes Are Burning was, admittedly, fantastic, and I wouldn't blame anyone for enjoying the more-of-the-same selections of Turn of the Cards, Scheherazade and Novella if they were well and truly into the band's style.
But I suspect many will admit that by Novella things had begun to get mildly repetitive, and it was time for a change. So, Album), Michael Dunford picked up his cobweb-strewn electric guitar and brought it back into the Renaissance sound for the first time since Prologue, and the band settled down to produce an album of catchy, accessible shorter numbers as was the wont of many prog bands facing the double whammy of emerging new musical styles on the one hand and changing fashions on the other.
Unfortunately, these changes resulted in an album which, to me at least, sounds incredibly lacklustre. It's no surprise that one of the tracks on here Back Home Once Again was used as the theme music for a forgettable drama on British TV; the tracks here are perky, phoney, emotionally vacant and shallow slices of nothingness.
They are competently performed but utterly cliched and safe, producing the sort of music which produces no thrills and doesn't move me emotionally like the best of Renaissance's songs used to do; it's soporific, unthreatening stuff which in seeking to become accessible becomes inoffensive to the point of being forgettable.
The band's veer into New Wave pop may have been unwelcome, but if they headed on this trajectory for much longer they'd have hit easy listening territory. A shame. Two of the songs on this album are in the symphonic style that made this band great, and famous. The Day Of The Dreamer fits in with the heavy symphonic epics of the groups previous albums.
It's superbly orchestrated, and is as powerful a song as we've heard from Haslam, Dunford and the band. But this was Small minded and greedy record company executives were herding their successful stables into the pen of pop music, where mundane recordings could be force fed to the masses, who had been convinced by the self proclaimed music experts that punk and disco had substance. Renaissance bent to the pressure, and the remaining half of the album is made up of songs that begin the transition of their style from symphonic prog to bland AOR.
There is still some substance here. And the success of the single Northern Lights a track that reminds me a bit of Yes' Wonderous Stories from the previous yearhelped convince the group that this new direction was the correct course. Where did that lead them? Anyhow, that is for future reviews. This album, of course, contains the band's best known piece of music in the wider world outside of progressive rock music fans, Northern Lights, which, deservedly, became a smash hit.
It contains, in my opinion, everything that is good about this great band, the soaring lyrics of the beautiful Annie Haslam, intricate and detailed songwriting, performed with panache. I fell in love with this track, and, as a result, with the band as a young 14 year old. The remainder of the album is a glorious example of how the best Prog rock bands from this "classic period" began to reinvent their sound, approach to songwriting, and musical commercial nous.
Utilising the services of David Hentschel, he of Genesis fame, and the lovely orchestrations of The London Philharmonic Orchestra, the album still sounds wonderfully fresh and vibrant, and stands as a glorious buttress amongst much of the commercial new wave fodder of the day. It is, in truth, symphonic folk Prog rock personified, only now, with the exception of two longer, "traditional" tracks, the wonderful Day Of The Dreamer, and the title track which closes proceedings, in a shorter form.
This does not mean that any of the things which made this great band so vital are compromised. It merely made them more accessible, and that is never a bad thing to this reviewer's mind. The title track is one of the finest pieces of classical symphonic rock ever put to vinyl.
Jon Camp's bass lines are simply to die for, and, at their best, as here, Renaissance most certainly gave Yes a serious run for their money in this sub-genre. Of course, longstanding fans such as I will already have this album, and it is fair to say it still divides opinion. This review is rather directed to younger folk looking to see what they might enjoy whilst trawling through Prog Archives. If you want an immediately, beautifully performed, accessible introduction to the type of pastoral music that earned us lot the derogatory "bloody hippies" title in our schooldays, then look no further.
A joy to return to, four stars for this. An excellent addition to any serious progressive rock collection. It marked the return of the electric guitars to the band's music after several years of absence.
Like happened on "Novella", the line up is the same. So, the line up on the album is Annie Haslam lead and backing vocalsMichael Dunford guitarsJohn Tout keyboardsJon Camp vocals, backing vocals and bass and Terence Sullivan drums and percussion. Renaissance had deeper roots in the classical tradition than did most of the other progressive acts, often incorporating lesser known late romantic, and beyondmotifs into their recorded workings.
Such ties may have helped them to remain true to their musical commitments at a time when many other progressive bands were collapsing artistically, somehow. It's a very beautiful and melodic song that has everything to be an epic song, but due to a mysterious and surprising motif, doesn't develop and ends somewhat in an abrupt way.
However and despite that, we are in the presence of a great track. This is clearly a very good progressive track with several musical changes, all over the song, with some great musical moments. It's probably not fresh and enough inspired as other great epic songs composed by them, but in its essence, it keeps the excellence of Renaissance's music. The third track "Closer Than Yesterday" written by Michael Dunford and Jon Camp is a very brief song and is also one of the shortest songs on the album.
This is a song with a very simple musical structure, very nice and pleasant to hear. It's a typical acoustic ballad especially composed for the duo Annie Haslam and Michael Dunford with a lush orchestration on the back. It's a simple but a nice song, too. It's a very good song with good bass line by Jon Camp, great classical piano by John Tout and where the excellent performance of John Tout marry perfectly well with the voice of Annie Haslam.
The fifth track "Back Home Once Again" written by Michael Dunford and Jon Camp is with "Closer Than Yesterday" one of the smallest songs on the album, and because of its musical structure, it has a more commercial sound. It's a nice song but it represents one of the weakest songs on the album. And because of that we wouldn't rank it among the finest songs on their musical catalogue.
The sixth track "She Is Love" written by Betty Thatcher and Michael Dunford is another weak point of the album and represents probably the weakest song on it. We can't say this it's a bad song but, in a certain way, the song doesn't catch, and the only thing I can say is that they should have been kept this song out of this album, perhaps.
A totally incomprehensive decision made by them, I think. The seventh track "Northern Lights" written by Betty Thatcher and Michael Dunford is another beautiful and catchy song on the album.
It's true that is a more pop oriented song but it's very beautiful and nice to hear. I think it represents a very good pop song, composed with enough quality to can give us some pleasure when we hear it. This is the epic and pompous track on the album, but unfortunately, it represents also the last great Renaissance's symphonic progressive epic. The title track is a truly progressive song full of pure joy, melody, sweetness and grandiosity, and once more, the vocal performance of Annie Haslam is absolutely irreproachable.
This song proves the grandiosity of this great band and closes this album with a golden key. Those bands needed to be more commercial. Renaissance and Genesis did it Album) some success, or they would to have an end, which is the case of Gentle Giant.
I can see a certain parallelism between Renaissance and Genesis. Finally, both albums are, in my humble opinion, the last great studio albums released by them. Prog is my Ferrari. The band must have realized that by now, nearly ten yea Just like you're favorite friends, sometimes you're favorite albums have their faults.
That doesn't make them any less great or enjoyable, you love them just the same. A Song For All Seasons was both a blessing and a curse for Renaissance in that it help to bring them to a somewhat wider audienc Mixed, but still rooted in their classic sound. This is the last Renaissance album to contain the classic sound of their previous albums. The late 70s found record companies pushing artists to produce more hits and to adapt to the new sounds that were coming out on the radio whether punk, disco, I agree with everyone that this work is far way better than Novella, and IMHO should be seen as the last great album from Renaissance, before the embarrasing pop era.
A Song For All Seasons is a proof that Renaissance still had all possibilities to sound like earlier works. Although the album has a The hallmarks of the band is present. Are worthy songs from the era symphonic band. The four albums preceding this one Ashes Closer Than Yesterday - Renaissance (4) - A Song For All Seasons (Vinyl Burning, Turn of the Cards, Scheherazade, and Novella had all been masterpieces of classical symphonic rock in my opinion.
With A Song For All Seasons, the band decided to change things up a bit by introducing 2 elements that had been missing from th My favorite Prog song is "Breakthrough" by Peter Hammill but probably my 2nd favorite prog song is "A Song For All seasons" by Renaissance, title-track of this great album.
But that in every case is magical. As I think, in general if I speak of Classic Opening Out. Day of the Dreamer. Closer Than Yesterday.
Kindness At the End. Jon Camp. Back Home Once Again. She Is Love. Northern Lights. A Song for All Seasons. Spotify Amazon. Kindness At the End Jon Camp.
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