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Collage - Changes CD (album) cover





3.23 | 65 ratings

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Prog-Folk Team
3 stars The success of "Moonshine" must have left Collage scrambling to avoid losing momentum. Apparently they had a wealth of material that pre-dated and post-dated their first album, including some early versions of "Moonshine" classics. It may have also been, in retrospect, that the group was splintering and just did not have a lot of new songs with which to work. More about that in my review of "Safe". What we have in "Changes" is a very worthwhile collection of various rarities from the late 1980s to early 1990s that, while perhaps not the ideal introduction to the band, demonstrates the depth of their oeuvre.

The near-chronological arrangement was a wide choice, and the generally dark and melancholic atmosphere makes it easy to extrapolate to and from "Basnie". The fact that 4 different vocalist appear through the course of the CD is not at all distracting. "Lullabye" 87 is actually better than the version on their debut, while "Wizards" is notable for excellent keyboard work and rich sounding percussion. "The Night Falls" is a very atmospheric and slow paced song with a more upbeat middle section. The rhythms shift deftly, mirroring the natural phenomenon.

"Just like Heaven" is a two part song that seems to represent the group's first efforts in the English language, using vocalist Zbyszek Bieniak. His style tends to be a bit poppier and doesn't suit the group that well, and the songs themselves are not that impressive. Still, Gil's flourishes remain front row centre and that is a good thing. "Midnight Flyer", while still seeming to be designed for the charts, is a much more successful move, with elegant vocal harmonies and some uplifting synth motifs. With 38/39, we have yet another singer, Jarek Majka. This is truly a monster cut, full of mellotron sounds, meandering guitars and foreboding atmospheres, but all too short.

The versions of "Lovely Day", "The Blues" and "Living in the Moonlight" are all of historical interest but are better experienced as part of the greater whole on the meticulously rendered "Moonshine" album. "Sun Meadows" is a rare and wonderful beast indeed, a Collage instrumental, uplifting and gracious thanks mostly to the Gil/Szadowski synergy, but it stylistically is also more than just a Collage song without vocals. "Old Romantic Style" is another instrumental that sounds more like an outtake from "Moonshine", which is like an A track on most other albums.

If you want to get an excellent sampling of the myriad changes undergone by this great Polish group, this Cd is a great option, and almost makes the "Basnie" album dispensable for anyone but fanatics. Beware, for you may fall into that category after you listen to these "Changes".

kenethlevine | 3/5 |


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