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Collage - Safe CD (album) cover





3.51 | 115 ratings

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3 stars I remember reading an interview with Collage members after the success of "Moonshine", and the gist of the communication was that the band had finally, after close to a decade, produced an album that they intended all along. Moreover, they also felt they now had the pieces in place to move onward and upward. Unfortunately, this potential energy was never harnessed, and in fact one might wonder if the band was already splintering at the time of the followup "Safe". Apparently the group considered issuing it under a different name to reflect the departure in mood.

The album truly reflects its title, being very soft neo progressive rock of a type that rarely rocks the boat, let alone breaks boundaries or even perfects a sound that might have been. It would appear that Robert Amirian's greater songwriting involvement might be a factor in the extreme mellowness of "Safe". Certainly, take on its own this album is not without considerable inner beauty, but we expect so much more from Collage. Songs like "This Time", "Stranded", "Cages of the Mind" and "Chanting", are all decent on a low energy level but lack urgency or wow factor. "Made Again" and the title cut are similar but more melodic and emotional in a manner we expect from Collage. The two best songs by far appear back to back. "Eight Kisses" is a 10 minute tour de force in which Mirek Gil is unleashed for long, languid, breathtaking stretches in a way barely hinted at by the best work on "Moonshine", while "One of their Kind" is a musically upbeat but lyrically twisted look at isolation. It could have been a huge hit with a few tweaks.

The best material here is as good or better than anything Collage ever did, but too much of the rest (and in general that is too much of the album) is simply weak in spirit and unwilling to risk anything. Still, too much class oozes even from the also-rans on "Safe" to make it possible to award less than 3 stars for Collage's last effort.

kenethlevine | 3/5 |


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