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Paint A Picture (vinyl)

Review by Gary Hill

Shining light on a more obscure prog act, this was the only album released by Fantasy. Well, that's true of the time when they were an active act. There was a second album recorded, but the record label declined it. It was released years later on CD. This 1973 release showcases a prog sound that is more about solid songs than it is about progressive rock excess. I can hear some healthy helpings of the pre-disco side of The Bee Gees here for some reason. Of course, that's paired with more traditional prog references like Nektar, Barclay James Harvest and more. Call this what you like, but it's an effective release of solid music.

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Track by Track Review
Side 1
Paint A Picture

A slowly growing, keyboard dominated movement brings a sound that makes me think of Captain Beyond a little at first. After the first vocal movement, the cut builds out to a tasty (although still slow) arrangement that is more pure prog and more rocking. The cut continues evolving and has a definite psychedelic angle to it at times. I'm reminded of Nektar to a large degree on this cut.

A bouncy vibe is on the menu here. This is a classy prog song with some definite psychedelic angles to it. It's dynamic and powerful. There are some mysterious tones and a lot of style built into this thing. There is a killer guitar dominated instrumental section that gives way to more of a keyboard-based one. We get into some arena rock from there.
The Award
I dig the cool prog meets psychedelic groove of this tune. It has a great flow to it, and some tasty changes. I also like the melodies, and this number is another that makes me think of Nektar just a bit. For some reason I'm reminded a little of The Bee Gees, too, though.
Politely Insane
The mix of sounds isn't that different here, but this is another potent piece. It's another point where I'm again reminded of early Bee Gees to some degree.
Intricate acoustic guitar is on the menu at the start of this. This becomes quite a tasty prog rock excursion as it evolves and builds.
Side 2
Icy River
Coming in with a dramatic prog build-up, this drops to more atmospheric sounds from the ballad-like vocal section. This becomes quite a powerful progressive rock number with a melodic leaning to it.
Thank Christ
A mellower number, this again has some hints of both Nektar and The Bee Gees to me.
Young Man's Fortune
There is almost a jazzy vibe to the opening build up on this cut. The track works out to fast paced prog with a healthy helping of psychedelic rock in the mix. This powerhouse is one of my favorites here. It gets into some pretty rocking zones.
Gnome Song
Intricate mellow prog sounds get this cut underway. This has some cool rocking modes as it grows out. There is a real classic prog sound to this thing.
Silent Mime
I dig the keyboard sounds that open this piece. Overall it's another classy melodic prog tune. It makes for a solid closer.

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