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Renaissance - The Other Woman CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

2.12 | 68 ratings

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2 stars The Other Woman is Renaissance in name only, the connection being Michael Dunford, longtime songwriter, arranger and acoustic guitarist, and lyricist Betty Thatcher [now called Newsinger]. All music is written by Dunford/Thatcher-Newsinger, and Dunford plays acoustic guitar on some tracks but otherwise plays a background role like he did in the early 1970s. All other musical roles are taken by Renaissance newcomers, including American singer Stephanie Adlington who boldly faced the sceptics who believed that 'Renaissance Is Annie Haslam'. Well, given the music bears little relation to the classic Renaissance cocktail of orchestrated melodic mini-epics, the absence of Ms Haslam is not really an issue. Indeed, by all accounts Adlington does a very good job.

Her material is hardly the stuff to get Haslam or Prog fans overly excited though, as it mostly veers between the diva country of schmaltzy soft-rock crooning and harder edged classic rock, sometimes with slightly more adventurous twists. None is particularly complex or original, and so Prog fans shouldn't worry about missing out on a lost gem, but otherwise it is rather good in places if you can get past the implications and history of the name.

The harder rock tracks work best. These include energetic opener Deja Vue, the excellent Don't Talk with its strange vocal twists and guitar solo, and Somewhere West Of Here which begins as an ordinary song before changing tack with a very good instrumental coda, finishing off with a musical quote of Northern Lights. Of the others, So Blasť is interesting for its strangeness, Quicksilver is a friendly rock song but nothing special, Love Lies Love Dies, May You Be Blessed and Lock In On Love are tedious slow love songs, and title track The Other Woman is poor in all respects. Which leaves old favourite The Northern Lights - Stephanie struggles to cope with Annie's phrasing but otherwise it's quite a successful rendition.

Something of a 'curate's egg' then - good in parts! Only the excellent Somewhere West Of Here comes close to Prog Related, but it and Don't Talk are clear stand-outs in an otherwise average set of AOR numbers.

Joolz | 2/5 |


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