Classic Rock - - Reviews - Hugh Fielder

Over­ture to a new di­rec­tion.

Af­ter two al­bums at the turn of the 70s, the list­less Re­nais­sance, fea­tur­ing rem­nants of The Yard­birds, were dy­ing of whimsy. Cue a whole­sale line-up change and an overt clas­si­cal di­rec­tion, im­me­di­ately ev­i­denced by the Chopin ref­er­ences on the open­ing ti­tle track, cour­tesy of pi­anist John Tout.

This new di­rec­tion also en­cour­aged singer An­nie

Haslam to step out from the shad­ows and ex­plore the po­ten­tial of her high, pure voice. It would take a cou­ple of al­bums be­fore she be­came a key part of the band’s sig­na­ture sound, but you can hear her grad­u­ally grow­ing in con­fi­dence over the course of the aptly named Pro­logue.

Bassist Jon Camp takes the vo­cals on the Rus­sian­in­flu­enced Kiev be­fore Haslam makes her pres­ence felt on the ethe­real Sounds Of The Sea. The acous­ti­cally driven Spare Some Love, with its vivid har­monies, is the track that best il­lus­trates the shape of sounds to come (the edited sin­gle remix is in­cluded here as a bonus track).

There’s noth­ing here that will make the band mem­bers wince in ret­ro­spect, not even the 11-minute Ra­jar Khan with its In­dian idio­syn­cra­sies and Haslam’s shrill, word­less vo­cals. It was recorded in 1972, for good­ness’ sake – you could get away with al­most any­thing!

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