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Saga - '20:20' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/64/aa/48/2478_saga2020_1342613332.jpeg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     July 18, 2012    
 
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A fine album.

My appreciation of Saga has endured since discovering them at their third album, however I’ll caveat that by saying I don’t wear rose-tinted glasses where they are concerned and concede that not all their albums are wholly meritorious. However, it must be difficult for a band whose first five albums are brilliant to maintain that level of consistency throughout a long career.

Any review of their work is inevitably measured against those early albums; so how does studio album number twenty hold up to scrutiny? In short, pretty damn well, it won’t dislodge any of the aforementioned classics from their perch but I think Saga fans will be very pleased with this album as there are plenty of tracks that live up the band’s significant legacy. Indeed, I’ll go as far as to say it’s a definite candidate for the number six slot in my personal Saga chart.

Having Michael Sadler back at the microphone is a massive bonus. I liked ‘Human Condition’ with Rob Moratti a lot but it just wasn’t Saga to my ears, as their sound is synonymous with Sadler’s majestic vocals. On their recent albums I’ve criticized Ian Crichton’s guitar solos for being atonal and seeming to bear little relationship to the song at hand, but I’m delighted to say that he’s returned to the more melodic and tuneful approach. The pulsing bass synth and sparkling piano that introduces the opening number, ‘Six Feet Under’, is quintessential Saga and it just gets better as Sadler’s sonorous, gentle vocals arrive. As the song picks up pace and the rousing chorus hits home you know that this is a track that will sit very nicely in their live set and become a fans’ favourite.

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I’m not over-enamoured with the melody on the verses of ‘Anywhere You Wanna Go’ but the chorus is infectious and the guitar solo is a delight. ‘Ellery’ recalls the character first encountered on the debut album (in the song ‘The Perfectionist’). This lovely, languid ballad has a beautiful vocal arrangement with wondrous harmonies, while ‘Spin it Again’ lulls you with its lush, gentle keyboards before a heavy riff emerges. Again the melody is terrific and the riffing certainly had me reaching for the old air guitar, although the chorus doesn’t quite hit the mark.

‘Another Day Out of Sight’ is the obligatory Jim Gilmour (keyboards) lead vocal contribution and it’s one of his best, he sounds stronger than on some songs he’s done in the past. ‘One of These Days’ picks up the pace splendidly, ‘Ball and Chain’ is another track with a strong melody. ‘Lost for Words’ has Sadler at his spine-tingling best with emotion coming through in his delivery loud and clear. ‘Show and Tell’ gets us back into riff territory and features guitar and keyboards duelling in classic Saga style. Closing track, ‘Till (sic) the Well Runs Dry’ builds rather nicely in typical fashion for the band and provides a fitting conclusion to a fine album.

Gary Marshall

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Comments (1)add comment

Brian said:

...
"Till" is a word and is correctly spelled.
"Caveat" is a noun, not a verb.
 
July 21, 2012
Votes: +0

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