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THE SINGLES COMPLETE

Magenta

Neo-Prog


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kev rowland
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover Prog Team
4 stars I've only just come across this double CD set that was released in 2015, but if any release could be said to be the perfect introduction to the band then it just has to be this. 24 songs, with a total running time of more than two hours, this shows exactly why the band have built such a strong reputation since their inception since back in 2001. Although the set is marked as "complete", I don't think that's technically true, but it is still a fine compilation nonetheless. Rob Reed is not only a wonderful multi-instrumentalist but a fine composer, and in long-time guitarist Chris Fry he has built a great relationship, which has allowed them to work with other musicians to create the perfect backdrop for Christina Booth. Christina is certainly one of the most important female singers of her generation within the prog field, and she is always front and centre of the music, always providing the perfect vocal foil, whether it is a rock number or something more overtly progressive.

Rob had never hidden his love of progressive music of the Seventies, and it clearly shows in Magenta's music, even down to the few covers that are included here. I have heard a few different versions of "Wonderous Stories" over the years, but there is no doubt that the version here is the best to date, but the other cover is the one of great interest to me, namely "Lucky Man". This feels more stripped-down, more acoustic, yet somehow even more layered than the original, so that it comes across as a very different version indeed, but losing none of the power of Greg's original. But, what really shows the depth of the band is the way that these songs don't stand out dramatically above their own material, with numbers such as "Broken" and "Speechless" demonstrating just how diverse the band are, bringing together numerous progressive elements but also driving the bass and guitar to create something that is looking both backwards and forwards at the same time. I've been playing this set a great deal as it is just so easy to fall into the world of Magenta, and if you have yet to investigate why not start now?

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Posted Tuesday, March 13, 2018 | Review Permalink

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