Exposé Online banner

Saga — Pleasure and the Pain
(SPV SPV 076-7288A CD, 1997/2002, CD)

by Mike Grimes, Published 1997-10-01

Pleasure and the Pain Cover art

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Saga. Pleasure and the Pain marks their 12th studio album, and in many ways is an apt title. This release marks a return to the 4-5 minute rock song format and bears more stylistic similarity to 1993's Security of Illusion than their last studio release, Generation 13. Strangely, drummer Steve Negus is absent from the line-up for the album, but is touring with the band in support of the release. Also peculiar is that the keyboards are nearly insignificant throughout. Both these circumstances seem weird since this is supposed to be a big anniversary celebration record. There's a remake of the Beatles' "Taxman," plus two remakes of earlier Saga songs. Two other songs are also heavily filled with samples and riffs from prior Saga material. All in all, about half of the tracks contain rehashes of some sort. Maybe this was part of the intent, but it generates suspicion that perhaps the band was short on material. On the plus side, guitarist Ian Crichton continues to show why he's one of the best rock guitarists around. He's so featured, one might almost believe this album was his solo project. The best tracks are "Heaven Can Wait" with its funky 7/8 groove, the hiccup guitar laden "How Do You Feel," and harmonically radical "Fantastically Wrong." They show why Saga is still one of the best rock bands around. Fans of the "prog" side of Saga might find this release somewhat lacking in substance, but fans of the "rock" side of the group should enjoy this record a lot.


Filed under: Reissues, Issue 13, 2002 releases, 1997 recordings

Related artist(s): Jim Gilmour, Saga, Ian Crichton

Latest news

2021-04-01
New Aristocrats Live Album on the Way – No foolin'! These supreme musicians toured Europe early in 2020, just before touring ceased to be a thing musicians could do, and there were some hot performances captured. On May 7, some of these will be releases as Freeze! Live in Europe 2020. » Read more

2021-03-25
Return of Jerry Lucky's Progressive Rock Files – After much consideration and surprisingly, positive feedback, Jerry Lucky is announcing the launch of the progressive Rock Files podcast, featuring the latest progressive rock music from around the world. » Read more

2021-03-14
Jewlia Eisenberg RIP – The sad news has come out that Jewlia Eisenberg has died. As a founding member of Charming Hostess, Eisenberg changed the face of music, bringing together Balkan klezmer, American folk, and experimental rock in a distinctive blend that garnered much praise. » Read more

2021-03-11
RIP Roger Trigaux – The sad news has come to our attention that Roger Trigaux, the guiding force of Present and former member of Univers Zero, passed away on the evening of March 10, 2021 after a long ilness. » Read more

2021-02-14
SoundQuest Fest 2021 – SoundQuest Fest, first experienced as a live festival in Tucson Arizona in 2010 was created by ambient music pioneer Steve Roach. This 2021 event will unite a worldwide gathering of artists and audience members together for a 3-day online event unique in the realm of ambient music. From March 26-28th a continuous flow of streamed performances, audio-video wonder worlds and deep immersion zones will burn bright on Roach’s YouTube channel. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Simon Steensland - The Simon Lonesome Combat Ensemble – Cutting-edge, unpretentious and imaginative are three adjectives that describe this offering by Swedish multi-instrumentalist and composer Simon Steensland. Mixing elements of rock, neo-classical,...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues