Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Renaissance - Illusion (1970)

I borrowed an edition ("Innocents & Illusions") of the 'original' Renaissance's two albums including also some bonus tracks. The first album I had quite unsuccesfully listened already in my teens when I had just found the Haslam-Renaissance. Also that groundbreaking album finally sounded better now, but my real surprise was this Illusion. Its reviews here are mostly not very favourable but I was totally charmed. It has more folk flavour than the debut, and it has Jane Relf much more as the lead singer. Debut is perhaps proggier and has more classical references in John Hawken's piano solos, but there's no denying that Illusion is very beautiful folk-prog - even if 'Love Goes On' and 'Love Is All' are rather simple naive songs with lots of harmony vocals (nice songs anyway).

'Past Orbits Of Dust' (14:39) is to me the most boring just as 'Bullet' is in the debut. They are the most experimental but don't exactly give worth their length. Highlights here are 'Golden Thread' and 'Mr Pine' (the latter penned by Michael Dunford, key figure in the 'new' Renaissance) that beautifully bring together the prog and folk elements. The sound is full of warmth and the vocals of both sexes very pleasant throughout the whole album. (Though unprofessional Jane is naturally far from Annie Haslam's skills.) If you're not put off by naive folkish charm you'll enjoy this!

The bonus tracks (4 to this album) are so nice too that it's a miracle how they remained unreleased(?) at the time. PS. The text also gives a clear historical view on the first Renaissance and its gradual way to the other line-up. ; ) RENAISSANCE Illusion music reviews and MP3 (Review from progarchives.com)

Songs / Tracks Listing
1. Love Goes On (2:51)
2. Golden Thread (8:15)
3. Love Is All (3:40)
4. Mr. Pine (7:00)
5. Face Of Yesterday (6:06)
6. Past Orbits Of Dust (14:39)

Total Time: 42:31
Line-up / Musicians - Keith Relf / vocals, guitar
- Jim McCarty / drums, vocals
- Louis Cennamo / bass
- John Hawken / keyboards
- Jane Relf / vocals, percussion

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