Collage - Safe

Year of Release: 1995
Label: Ars Mundi
Catalog Number: AMS 003 R
Format: CD
Total Time: 71:01:00

This is the most recent release I've seen by this Poland based band (this came out late 95 or early 96). They've four previous releases including a cover album of John Lennon songs. While I've not heard that release, I really liked 1994's Moonshine.

Their sound on this album is reminicent ... um, very much like that of, well, Marillion. Vocalist Robert Amirian sounds very much like Steve Hogarth throughout, especially on "Cages Of The Mind." The arrangement of "Stranded" sounds very Marillion-esque. And the keys on "Made Again" are more than just reminicent of Marillion on their own "King" (Afraid of Sunlight). Here, too, the first line of the lyric is "Here I am with twisted smile." (cf. lyrics of Script For A Jester's Tear's lead, titular track).

But also, there are touches reminicent of almost any Clive Nolan project (thus also a Pendragon comparison), though not as musically aggresive as say Shadowland. That is, Collage go more for lyrical, swirling passages rather than the more metal edge.

Which isn't to suggest that Collage are a soft rock band or anything. Guitarist Mirek Gil can play, and play with an edge - midway through "Chanting," for example. And, Kryzsztof Palczewski's keys have a very classical feel to them - closer to what is called contemporary instrumental. In the title track, particularly, I'm brought to mind of David Lanz. Actually, "Safe" could very well be played on any of those smooth jazz stations, though this isn't as thin as some of that is getting.

On "Eight Kisses," which is otherwise a very good track, there are a couple drawbacks, however. Gil doesn't have the same ... discipline that, say, Steve Rothery has, instead finding a particular tone or phrase and repeating it to just this side of over indulgence. He seems headed somewhere in his solo, but takes too long getting there. The other drawback was the addition of a female vocalist a third of the way through - she is in too high a register for comfort. Of course, the tendency in this genre is to find very robust, sultry female vocalists for harmony or effect (I'm thinking of Pink Floyd's Dark Side... for example).

The instrumentation and arrangements here are very good - well balanced (other than noted above). The addition of acoustic guitars on many of the tracks add another dimension, giving the tracks here texture and shading.

This is a really good album and I really like it - despite and because of its similarity to Marillion and the like. I do recommend it. [So much for being brief. -ed.]

The Winter Song (2:28) / This Time (6:15) / Cages Of The Mind I (0:44) / Cages Of The Mind II (6:09) / Stranded (6:29) / Eight Kisses (10:07) / One Of Their Kind (5:52) / Safe (7:28) / The Chanting (8:07) / Made Again (6:30) / Cages Of The Mind III (6:14) / I Will Be There (2:33)

Robert Amirian - lead and backing vocals, acoustic guitar
Mirek Gil - guitars
Krzysztof Palczewski - keyboards
Wojtek Szadkowski - drums
Piotr Mintay Witkowski - bass

Basnie (1990/2003)
Nine Songs Of John Lennon (1993)
Moonshine (1994)
Zmiany (1994)
Changes (1995/2003)
Safe (1995/2003)

Living In The Moonlight (DVD) (2005)

Genre: Neo Prog

Origin PL

Added: July 25th 1999
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Hits: 1670
Language: english


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