Most people think Azure d'Or was a cheap cop out or "the last good album of a once great band"
(I've heard that one before). I don't think any of this is true, and I'm going to review the entire album, front to back,
so I can tell you.
Jekyll and Hyde-3/5
The opening song, and it gives you a sence of what the album will sound like. It opens with Annie singing beautifuly,
with Michael Dunford with his acoustic and electric crossovers, Terry Sullivan and Jon Camp keeping the beat, and the
synthasizers, provided by John Tout. Jon Camp comes in with backing vocals every so often as he does sometimes. The piano/keyboard
solo is peaceful and calming. The end of the song Annie repeats "Inside Jakyll and Hyde" while Dunford and Camp sing their
"vocals with no words", a still classic Renaissance style, one I enjoy.
The Winter Tree-4/5
One of my favorites, there is a music video for this song, and I must say I really like Terry Sullivan's bow-tie.
Annie has one of her long, elegant dresses on, with her necklase that says "Annie" (wonder where she got it?). The chorus
is my favorite, where Camp and Dunford do that "oohhh" thing, and Annie smiles, she seems to like the song (and she has
a beautiful smile). This was the first song I heard (I saw the video), and It is one of my favorite Renaissance songs.
Only Angels Have Wings-3.5/5
The only Renaissance song I've ever heard with male lead vocals (by Jon Camp), although it sounds like Michael Dunford
and Annie Haslam are singing back up, I could be wrong. This is one of the only songs I know that really suits my voice
when I sing. There is no drums, or bass and guitar from what I can hear. Just Camp and Tout (acording to the album)
The longest track on the album, and it's only 5:16 minutes long. Annie is great, as usual, but her voice really lacks
power, it's higher than usual. It's the weakest, but still a good song.
This is the best song on the album, to me anyway. There is a lot of strange sounds (Terry Sullivan plays something
called a glockenspiel). I do wish Annie did her vocal thing at the end a lot louder, as it gets drowned out by the keyboards.
There is a video for this song, but it's done all on acoustic and piano (even Terry Sullivan has a guitar) and the vocals
are crisper. Still, it pushes back to the older style of Renaissance, the one it was known for.
My favorite Renaissance song, and no wonder. It's a good song. The intro is Terry Sullivan on drums, it's quiet but
gets louder until the rest of the band joins in. When Michael Dunford crosses over to acoustic, Annie starts. Her voice sounds
wonderful (as always), but the synthasizers actually suit the song, as do the electric guitar. Jon Camp and Michael Dunford
do back up vocals (Terry Sullivan moves his mouth in the video). The odd thing about the video is, that everyone is wearing
the same thing as the "Winter Tree" video, except Annie (and Terry keeps drumming when there's no drum bits). Mind you, this
was before MTV, and this was how I first heard Renaissance.
Kalynda (the Magical Isle)-3/5
Begins with a lovely intro, and continues with a quiet, peaceful feel to it. It picks up a tad, when Terry Sullivan
joins in, adding a beat. The chorus is more "epic" as Camp and Dunford join in on vocals, then it goes soft once again,
Haslam singing slowly. The chorus comes again, but with the end Camp and Haslam sing with an echo effect, then it goes soft,
then faddes away.
A slow starting, then gets off to a sort of funky style, synthasizers, and the such. I thought it could have used
some vocals (the ones like in Prologue-no words). It has a piano sounding part to it (I wonder why they didn't just
use real piano's, they had for so long). It seems to have a part from Phantom of the Opera then twist into some sort of steriotype oriental
sounding song. But it's a good instrumental none the less.
A nicer peice, one I just knew from the title, I'd like. Annie's vocals are strong, and unlike Golden Key, she hits
the high notes a tad better, this time with Jon Camp in the background singing. The lyrics are very suited to Renaissance's
style, and the acoustic parts are well put in threw out the song. It fades out to silence with Annie still singing "Time for
The Flood at Lyons-4.5/5
This song just starts off weird, but it really builds to something, with Annie nailing the chorus, using every part
of her great 5 octave range to do so. It sounds like an epic finisher, and I guess that's why it's at the end of the album.
It makes me feel like; "the album is ending, but with an epic finish"... Which is something Renaissance always deserves to
go out with!
The album cover-2.5/5
I have no idea what an Azure d'Or is, or what the cover is supposed to be, water maybe??? On the back is the band
messing around, instead in some serious pose (which is always a refreshing change). The album has the classic Renaissance
logo (the last to have it).
And there you go, my review of Azure d'Or, next to come; Annie Haslam's new CD Woman Transcending and Terry