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Harlequin Mass

Symphonic Prog

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Harlequin Mass Harlequin Mass album cover
3.31 | 24 ratings | 6 reviews | 12% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1978

Songs / Tracks Listing

Side 1
1. Introit (A Mass for the Harlequin) (3:09)
2. Love & Death (7:37)
3. One Step Home (7:32)

Side 2
1. Space Cats (1:00)
2. Loss of a Friend (3:39)
3. A New Song (4:21)
4. Sky Caller (10:34)

Total Time: 37:52
CD Mellow Records [Italy-CD] MMP 236 Released (1994)
8. My Place (3:14)
9. Meantime (4:02)
10. Fabulous Angel (4:04)
11. Jeopardy [KZOK mix] (3:54)

Total Time: 53:06

Line-up / Musicians

- Lyle Holdahl / bass guitar, acoustic and electric guitars, string ensemble, synthesizer, piano, organ, bass synthesizer, flute, percussion, lead and background vocals
- Nancy Deaver (Nancy Kaye) / lead vocals, background vocals, bass synthesizer
- John Reagan / drums, percussion, background vocals
- Jeff Pike / lead electric guitar, classical and acoustic guitars, piano, synthesizer, saxophone, clarinet, background vocals

Guest musicians:
- Collin Heade / cello and 'special' guitar on "One Step Home"
- Rob Metcalfe / synthesizer programming and special effects
- Mark Reagan / snare drum and 2nd hand cymbals on "Space Cats

Releases information

LP Mass Productions Records [US-LP] MAS 333 (1978)
CD Mellow Records [Italy-CD] MMP 236 (1994)
CD Big Balloon Music [US-CD-R] (2000)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
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HARLEQUIN MASS Harlequin Mass ratings distribution

(24 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(12%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(29%)
Good, but non-essential (50%)
Collectors/fans only (8%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

HARLEQUIN MASS Harlequin Mass reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by kenethlevine
3 stars It is always a pleasure to discover a band from the 1970s that received absolutely zero chance first time around. If the band was American, and did not play with the typical in your face style of its countrymen, so much the better. Harlequin Mass leans more towards the British school of symphonic rock, while incorporating folk elements into their best material. The folk basis is important, because it is generally sufficient to rein in the doodling on most of the longer pieces, the overly long and unfocused "Sky Caller" being the most notable exception.

It is hard to pick points of reference, even with Nancy Deaver's voice naturally calling out "Renaissance", because while the band sounds a bit like an energized Renaissance meets Yes, Deaver does not sound like Annie at all, but actually more like the Wilsons of Canadian classic rockers Heart, with a lot less venom. For a terribly obscure reference, how about Pauline Filby of the British prog/folk group Narnia, although Harlequin Mass is definitely a far better ensemble. Like Renaissance, though, Harlequin Mass knew how to vary the vox by gender, and Lyle Holdahl's lead on "One Step Home" helps make this mellotron and synth drenched pastoral epic the highlight of this disk, hands down. The backing harmonies in the final segment don't hurt, nor does the emotional lead guitar solo that fades out at the end.

Most of the material is strong and takes a few listens to get into. "Love and Death" might be the most representative piece by the band, featuring extended instrumental runs and interesting time changes but also some more accessible segments especially in the latter half. "A New Song" starts like Heart's "Crazy on You", but becomes a sweet lyrical paean to the possibility of the band having a hit, but yet one gets the impression from the lyrics that this is more an expression of a pipe dream than any attempt to pander. The benefit of retrospect tells us that the chances of such a monumental event were very slim, and in 1978 most prog bands must have gotten the message.

I cannot comment on the bonus cuts as my copy is the Big Balloon CDR. Harlequin Mass may not even command a small footnote in American rock history of the 1970s, but this is a strong debut that might have launched a more commercially successful career a few years earlier.

Review by b_olariu
4 stars A little treasure in prog world

While this band never got any big attention by listners they manage to release a single album in 1978 selftitled. To me is a very good album reminescent of Renaissance or Earth & Fire (Atlantis or To the world of the future era). The album was released to late in my opinion in late '70's when punk, new wave or the burst of NWOBHM steal the show of most of the prog bands. So is clear that this obscure band from USA, Oregon, never gain any big aplause, not because of the music witch is quite strong and has very good moments , it because was put on the musical market in a wrong time, so they lived almost 2 years before disbanding in 1980. About the music, i find it intristing , well played with some strong compositions like Love & death - here everybody can see what this band is capable of in prog music - good prog piece, One step home another highlight of the album, mellow piece with great cello and acustic guitar, funy Space cats with upbeat tempo and the optimistic A new song, the rest are ok.The voice is alternating from female to male, but Nancy Kay has the main role here who also has a good voice remind me more like contemporary female voice Lana Lane than Annie Haslan or Jerney Kaagman - just check out Loss of a friend. So, as a whole this album desearve more attention by symphonic prog lovers, to me is an excellent addition to any collection. 4 stars, and ending this review with Sean Trane words: "worth investigate". My Cd is released on Mellow record and has 4 bonus tracks from Stubborn Puppet era ( the second reincarnation of the band under diffrent name) - the pieces are more mainstrem in sound that on Harlequin Mass and nothing really to talk about, not bad not good.

Latest members reviews

3 stars I live in Oregon and I can tell you right away this state was not exactly brimming with local prog acts (if it was, I'd be always frequenting the night clubs and venues, which I'm not because of the lack of local prog). There were a few pop/rock acts that did make it big, the Kingsmen being a big ... (read more)

Report this review (#517038) | Posted by Progfan97402 | Wednesday, September 7, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This single albun from North-American band HARLEQUIM MASS, is a good surprise, mainly if take in consideration that is a relatively unknown work ( 6 ratings and only 4 reviews ). The sound reminds in some aspects the German band NOVALIS (in special "Novalis" & "Bradung" albuns) and also takes a b ... (read more)

Report this review (#493019) | Posted by maryes | Saturday, July 30, 2011 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Unknown band and a one album wonder from USA. Or should I say New York ? I guess they are from New York because of their sound. A sound very typical for New York at that time. Or Greenwich Village to be more precise. We are talking bohemian laid back pop music with hints of folk rock and jazz. ... (read more)

Report this review (#456324) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Friday, June 3, 2011 | Review Permanlink

3 stars It looks like I get to be the very first reviewer of this cd. Anyway, this one came out in the late 70's so it's no suprise that this is the only album put out by this Oregon based symphonic progressive rock band. Actually many US groups even from earlier in the decade released only one so I ... (read more)

Report this review (#83690) | Posted by Prog_Traveller | Friday, July 14, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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