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Renaissance - Tuscany CD (album) cover

TUSCANY

Renaissance

 

Symphonic Prog

3.04 | 95 ratings

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kenethlevine
Special Collaborator
Prog-Folk Team
2 stars While Annie Haslam's solo career proved that her voice alone cannot carry the day, the version of RENAISSANCE including original guitarist and composer Michael Dunford and vocalist Stephanie Adlington established that he didn't hold the trump cards either. What about bringing Haslam, the voice, and Dunford, the sound, together? And while we're at it, let's inject two other members from the classic period of RENAISSANCE MK 2, drummer Terence Sullivan and keyboardist John Tout, albeit the latter for only two tracks. In fact, only poetess Betty Thatcher and bassist Jon Camp are missing and, rightly or wrongly, they are sorely missed. Not that they would have necessarily helped, for among reunions of these classical prog pioneers, "Tuscany" is a bore to rival the most barren stretches of 1979's "Azure D'Or", and that takes some doing

I was much more welcoming of the energetic "Camera Camera" and "Time Line" in the early 1980s, wherein the band at least sounded engaged and the grooves exploded with hummable, sometimes even danceable melodies. Alas, "Tuscany" includes only 3 tracks worthy of the band's majestic legacy - "Pearls of Wisdom", which could have been one of the better cuts on the aforementioned "Azure D'Or"; "Dear Landseer" which evokes the sweep of a "Can You Understand" or "Ukraine Ways" at least thematically; and the poppy but satisfying "In the Sunshine". Interestingly, Tout only graces 2 tracks, both of which are in this short list. For the rest, we're abandoned to (naturally) well sung art songs that, as lyrics, compositions and performances, profoundly, even shockingly, cry for inspiration. Even Annie's voice is rarely challenged and seem both timid and emotionless in the main.

Perhaps my opinion might have been different if I had heard this at the time of release, the joy of the reunion and promise of future progress shading the overexposed inadequacies, much like a long lost friend with whom one once had an intimate connection. But from where I stand now, Tuscany bequeaths as much satisfaction as a Walmart print of Tuscany from a paint by numbers artist who has never been.

kenethlevine | 2/5 |

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