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Twelfth Night - Twelfth Night XII [Aka: The Virgin Album] CD (album) cover


Twelfth Night



2.47 | 49 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars This band, along with Marillion, Pallas, and IQ were at the forefront of the new wave of prog which commenced in the UK in the 1980's. Arguably, you could state that they were the least successful, and certainly the least resilient.

I remember buying this upon release, absolutely transfixed by the album cover, which is about as luxurious as it gets.

The music? Well, it has received a bit of a panning in the reviews on the site, and, by and large, much of it is forgettable, basically being an attempt at commercial music tinged with neo prog. It's not bad, it's just that much of it is simply not good enough, and, certainly, Jungle sounds much like any 1980's pop band of the time.

However, the album, and, thus, its rating is redeemed by two exceptional tracks, which, in my opinion, if they were the only two tracks on it, would merit at least a 4.5 star rating.

These are the single released, Blue Powder Monkey, and the epic closer, Take A Look. In addition, I quite like The Craft, which is a very good pop song, which is not a bad thing in my book.

Blue Powder Monkey gallops along at a fair old pace, and the chorus is frenetic. It is a clever track, and I would actually put it up against any single released by Marillion at this heady time for that band, high praise coming from me indeed. There are some great guitar licks in this, and Sears carries it by an incredible vocal performance. Toe tapping, great fun, it should have done more at the time of release.

However, the one that really does make you want to stand up and take notice, and make you wonder what might have been, is Take A Look, an epic track clocking in at over 11 minutes. This is, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the finest neo prog tracks ever released. The intensity of this track simply never lets up, and it is, surprisingly, given what went on before, pure and utter prog, with absolutely no nod to fashion whatsoever. From a slow, ponderous, thoughtful, opening, the main background riff develops, and Sears, when he enters, tells in a very caustic fashion, his take on modern society and technology. The chorus is one of those rare ones that makes you outstretch your arms and sing along at top voice, and the rush of the track with all of the band moving along at a frenetic pace is wonderful.

This album is probably now regarded as more of a curiousity as much as anything else, but I, for one, was very glad to revisit it when i converted the original vinyl to digital. There is, by the way, a remastered CD with bonus tracks on issue, but I cannot comment on this as I have never heard it.

Three stars for an album from a band who promised much, but, ultimately, delivered far too little. If you can download it, I would recommend downloading the standout tracks.

lazland | 3/5 |


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