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Renaissance

Prologue

Review by Gary Hill

This early Renaissance disc has a lot of the folky progressive rock that was a trademark of the band at times. Annie Haslam guides some of the songs, but isn’t as big a factor as on some other Renaissance albums. No matter how you slice this, though, it’s a great album that still holds up really well.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Prologue

Classical piano leads out here. The band joins after a short time, at first complementing the basic concept. Then it works out to a fast paced jam that’s got some jazz in the mix. Non-lyrical vocals soar over the top. The piece slows down from there. Then it powers out into a fiery jam and the changes continue to ensue. This thing keeps getting reinvented. It’s quite a powerful tune. Other than those non-lyrical vocals (more like a voice as an instrument) it’s an instrumental. It rocks, it has classical moments and it’s just plain cool.

Kiev
This piece also starts with classical piano. It’s quite a dynamic and powerful number, though. It’s a real powerhouse, actually. A folk rock styled motif serves as the backdrop for the verse. Male vocals are the order of business on that section. In fact, Annie Haslam’s vocals serve only as the backing ones for this whole cut. The movement lasts over three minutes and is fully a folk rock piece. Then they take it out into a smoking hot progressive rock jam that really rocks. It moves through a number of shifts and changes as it continues. By the five minute mark it drops back down to a reprise of the beginning. It works out from there into a great powered up rendition of the melodic prog stylings. Then another shift back to the first verse section brings the vocals back.
Sounds of the Sea
Starting and ending with literally the sounds of the sea, this is essentially a folk progressive rock piece. With the lead vocals handled by Haslam, it’s more typical Renaissance. It’s quite a pretty and poignant piece, but it’s not the most dynamic thing here.
Spare Some Love
Although there are sections of this that are more in line with the folk prog of the previous cut, this tune rocks out a lot more. It’s also a lot more dynamic. It’s quite a strong tune and very recognizable as Renaissance.
Bound for Infinity
Intricate and pretty, this represent the more folk prog side of Renaissance. It’s another strong cut, but probably not a highlight of the set. That’s because there are some really strong tunes on this album.
Rajah Khan
This is the epic of the set, weighing in at over eleven and a half minutes. Some fairly loud psychedelic space opens this. Then guitar creates the loudest rocking sounds of the disc. We get some middle Eastern elements as that holds it. In fact, it’s about two and a half minutes in before anything else is heard on the song. Then, they come in with a more folk prog styled song structure. Haslam’s voice comes across non-lyrically. After moving in a pretty straight line for a couple minutes that way, guitar and bass take over in a short interlude. Then it fires out into some seriously hard rocking progressive rock from there. The piece just continues to evolve from there with various themes emerging, working through and getting replaced, many times to come back again later. It’s really a great piece of music.
 
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