This years last post on a classic album is actually the first CD that made it into my collection in the eighties. So from that point of view alone, the classic tag is deserved. Also the artwork of Mark Wilkinson, inspired by the lyrics, adds to the picture.
But of course that would not be enough to deserve the “classic” tag. This second album with original singer Fish, and the first with drummer Ian Mosley, saw the boys recording in full digital mode. I believe they were one of the first bands to do that. And despite this resulting in a somewhat clinical sounding record, the songs have stood the test of time remarkably well.
Opener Assassin is a full blown progressive rock tune that tells us the band means business. A mystical opening, evolving into an up beat song that presents the perfect stage for the lyrical content Fish unleashes at the listener. As often, his words are open to various interpretation, but I prefer to mention the great guitar solo´s Steve Rothery fires at us here. A thing gone sadly missing in later years. And lets not forget the inventive keyboard arrangements by Mark Kelly.
Next track Punch And Judy is a prime example of how this type of music can translate into catchy tunes that everyone should want to hear. Jigsaw has a peaceful opening with keyboards and vocals. Pete Trewavas supports the melodies with some excellent bass lines. After a few minutes into the song, the band again show their craftsmanship in turning the track into another prog workout with an extensive guitar solo.
The opening drums and riffs of Emerald Lies are classic, and Pete´s bass lines bring Yes to mind. The track has many mood shifts but holds the attention with ease.
And so I could go on. So believe me when I say this album never tires. Timeless!