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Illusion - Out Of The Mist / Illusion CD (album) cover

OUT OF THE MIST / ILLUSION

Illusion

 

Eclectic Prog

4.01 | 9 ratings

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kenethlevine
Special Collaborator
Prog-Folk Team
4 stars The original Renaissance reformed in 1977 with a different name to produce two albums superior to their output of the early 1970s (Renaissance and Illusion respectively). While those dabbled in somewhat precious baroque classical eclecticism, the albums under question are more like folk rock with classical and progressive underpinnings, and pack a lot more punch.

Jane Relf's voice may not have the dramatic operatic quality of her successor, but it is warmer and more suited to these compositions. She plays a big part in many of the best songs, particularly "Beautiful Country", "Face of Yesterday", and the staggeringly beautiful "Wings Across the Sea", but Jim McCarty holds his own in the epic openers of each album, "Isadora" and "Madonna Blue", and in the understated "Never be the Same".

Let's not forget John Hawken's keyboard augmentations on all of these tracks, as he is truly one of the most gifted players when it comes to sympathizing with the compositions. While he can trump up a piece, he knows how to color it softly. His work on the fascinating closer, "The Revolutionary", one part Strawbs "Hero and Heroine" and one part Clannad's "Ancient Forest" (from their Legend album), helps make this perhaps the most progressive and durable track on the entire two disk set.

While Illusion the band claimed that Illusion the album (the second one represented here) was rushed out the door and they were disappointed with it, I feel that it is superior to the first if not as instantly likeable. It avoids more banal songs like "Everywhere you go" and the somewhat sad "Ashes are Burning" wannabe "Candles are Burning", in favor of breaking new ground. Even "Cruising Nowhere" with its period rhythms is more appealing. That these Illusions rate 4 stars is reality.

kenethlevine | 4/5 |

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