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Renaissance - Illusion CD (album) cover

ILLUSION

Renaissance

 

Symphonic Prog

3.05 | 212 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

kenethlevine
Special Collaborator
Prog-Folk Team
3 stars It is generally written that the second version of Renaissance had none of the members present in the first. While this is technically true, the final release for Mach 1 does contain guitarist Mike Dunford as guest and songwriter on "Mr Pine". Not surprisingly, that lengthy track is the one that sounds most like what Renaissance would become, and comes off like an overture of as yet unexplored but intriguing ideas. Passages that would resurface in later tunes like "Running Hard" can be heard here. In addition to Dunford, lyricist Betty Thatcher makes a rather modest debut on "Love is All", given how mystical she became around the time of "Turn of the Cards". For a glimpse of that poetic style, "Past Orbits of Dust" is a better bell weather, although musically it is perhaps more in line with the self titled album, and drags on to excess. It's like a very immature version of "Ashes are Burning"

Elsewhere, things have become a lot more focused than on the debut. The shorter "love" cuts are more accessible and blatantly folky, enhanced by lovely harmonies, and "Face of Yesterday" is the best expression of their romantic progressive vision that was fully realized on the ILLUSION albums of the late 1970s. In fact, the "Out of the Mist" album from 1977 actually reworks this classic song. Using Jane Relf as the main vocalist only enhances the overall appeal of this album.

A significant improvement over the previous year's offering, Illusion still gives only a hint of the reality that was about to unfold.

kenethlevine | 3/5 |

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