Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Renaissance - Grandine il Vento (2013)

The long awaited new Renaissance album. An album made even more poignant with the recent passing of Michael Dunford, one of the founders of the mark II of this band. The only other member of mark II is Annie Haslam. Both of them are very much present on this album.

The album title and Annie Haslam's art work promises a lot. A return to the likes of Ashes Are Burning, Turn Of The Cards and in particular; the Scheherazade album. The sounds coming from the band leading up to the release of this album was promising us a return to that sound. A promised partly honoured. Well, the band tried their best to return to this sound and they have partly succeeded. I though would remind you all that this album is the follow up to the not so perfect Tuscanny album. A mix of that album's light pop and Scheherazade is the best description I can come up with when it comes to this album.

The twelve minutes long Symphony Of Light sets the ball running and it is a great song. Annie Haslam's voice is as great as ever. The second song Waterfall is very good. The title track is another great song in the good old Turn Of The Cards mould. I have problems with Porcelain. But most of it is a very good song. I don't like these voice overs in the song. The duet with John Wetton is pretty good, but the weakest track on the album. The album closes with the great The Mystic And The Muse after I have bypassed three-four songs.

All songs are very much moulded in the Renaissance mix of pop, rock and classical music sound. Annie sings over a mix of keyboards, pianos, drums, guitars and bass. Everything oozes class and elegance. Annie also proves that she is the undisputed queen, ruling monarch, of the female vocalists in the melodic and progressive rock scene. Her vocals is as per usual stunning. Utterly stunning.

I am not sure if Grandine il Vento is the final ever Renaissance album. A band that has meant and still means a lot to me. If it is their final studio album (I suspect we will get a live album from their recent tour); Rennaissance is bowing out on the top and with one of their best albums. It is not in the same class as their trio Ashes/Cards/Scheherazade. It is still on the level just below there again though. OK, some of the songs here are far too much pop music for my liking. Far too much like Tuscanny. But most songs, if not all of them, have elements I really like. Elements that reminds me why I really love this band.

Grandine il Vento is in short a great album. Annie Haslam's artwork and vocals elevates it up to a great album status. An album I am starting to really getting a lovely relationship with. Scary.

4 points


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