Exposé print issues (1993-2011)
Renaissance Illusion — Through the Fire
(Spiral SCD923, 2001, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2002-04-01
In our Renaissance Mark 1 feature in issue 12 several years ago, they said they might be back... and so they are. Amid the many recent permutations of Renaissance, we have yet one more, featuring four members of the original five-piece Renaissance lineup from 1969. Jim McCarty (lead vocals and drums), Louis Cennamo (bass), John Hawken (piano, keyboards), and Jane Relf (vocals) are joined by guests on cello, flute, acoustic guitar, and additional vocals on most of the ten tracks herein. The material here is song based, featuring McCarty’s vocals and Hawken’s unmistakable piano prominently, in a sort of easygoing folk-pop setting, not unlike the mid-late 70s incarnation (Illusion) on the albums Out of the Mist and Illusion. This is clearly McCarty’s show, having written all of the material and masterminded the reformation of the band. If you remember songs like “Madonna Blue” and “Wings across the Sea” from the 2nd Illusion LP, then you know pretty much what to expect here; don’t expect them to launch into extended instrumental Beethoven medleys and such like on the first Renaissance record — those days are long gone. That said, many of the tunes here, like “Mystery of Being,” “Glorious One,” “Turn of the Wheel,” “Beat of the Earth,” and the title track are rich in melodies, meticulously arranged, and quite memorable overall. Fans of early Renaissance and Illusion should find plenty here to sink their teeth into.
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