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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Saga

Trust

Review by Lorraine Kay

Saga outdid themselves on this, their latest studio CD. After 30 years they have not lost any freshness in their music. Tackling this project with a brand new drummer, the remaining four musicians are faithful to the Saga signature sound offering eleven brand new songs of some of the best progressive rock out there.

Continuing to feature Michael Sadler on Vocals, Jim Gilmour on keyboards, Ian Crichton on guitars and Jim Crichton on bass, Christian Simpson joins the band, replacing original drummer Steve Negus. The group is solid and the CD brings out the best in each of its members. Sadler experimented a bit more with more layers of vocals on this one, but the final product is good, with as many as 16 layers in some places.

The band has already toured in Europe to promote the CD and promises to tackle the American audience later this fall. Fans should watch their website for tour dates.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2006 Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
That's As Far As I'll Go
This opening track is placed well with all its texture and layers and upbeat instrumentation and in-your-face vocals. Jim Gilmour is way out front on the keys and Michael Sadler keeps it interesting not only on lead vocals but with the multi-layers of background vocals.
Back To The Shadows
This song takes you anywhere but back to the shadows. It is a whirlwind of sound and vocals. Jim Gilmour and Ian Crichton are all over it on keys and guitar. And Sadler does not disappoint on the vocals by any stretch of the imagination. There are shadows of Alan Parsons Project on this one, which is a positive thing.
I'm OK
This one has some subtle guitar jazz tones playing. With soft thoughtful lyrics it is a kind of anthem to get through the day by.
Time To Play
This track is totally married to the lyrics with a funky and playful backbeat. The staccato vocals are fun too.
My Friend
A more melodic tune, this one showcases Sadler’s qualities as a tenor ballad singer. The instrumentation is also more subdued, almost acoustic. Jim Gilmour approaches the keys with a clarinet solo while Ian Crighton accompanies on guitar.
Trust
The title track reverts to the stronger prog movement. Upbeat and strong it emphasizes the merits of trust. The music beneath is just as solid as the virtues the song attempts to extol.
It's Your Life
A straight ahead rock tune, this one is tight not just vocally but the solid breaks are precise and reminds the listener of what is good about prog-rock.
Footsteps In The Hall
This one is very different from the rest of the CD. Despite the ominous lyrics and story of someone’s eminent fall, this song starts off with a light bouncy feeling. This comes both in the melody and accompaniment emphasized by the accent of chimes on the intro and between song parts. The close harmonies are interesting with a slight whimsical feeling to emphasize the bounciness of it all. Gilmour’s keyboard solo takes it a step further before he resolves back to the chimey theme.
Ice In The Rain
The various colors in Sadler’s vocals on this one make it different. The steady rhythm and the constant playing back and forth by Gilmour and Crichton are married to the “ice” in the lyrics so much that you can almost feel the chill.
You Were Right
The drama underlying the vocals in this track is major fun. The various voices talking back and forth are only accentuated and repeated in theme by Gilmour and Cricton’s arpeggios back and forth. Simpson’s syncopated accents on the high-hat add to the quickness of the vocals and other instrumentation.
On The Other Side
This traveling song moves closely with the lyrics and Sadler’s vocals give the whole piece a sense of urgency. There are some interesting harmonies on this one. Gilmour uses a few different patches on this during the intro and solo to give it a somewhat Celtic feel. It’s a surprise for the last track.
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