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Clearlight: Impressionist Symphony

Releasing their, or his, for this really is Cyrille Verdeaux and a host of guests, first album in over a decade, Clearlight return with Impressionist Symphony, an album which combines Rock, Prog and a little Space-Rock to Classical themes. All of which is based round the lives and times of the great impressionist painters. Hence we get song titles with enough cheese to keep the Swiss in clocks for many a year, "Time Is Monet" nestling next to "Van Gogh 3rd Ear" and, even worse, "Lautrec Too Loose". However if you can see past these obvious shortcomings, what reveals itself is a gentle album which contains much more poise than its song titles would suggest, and a cast of characters (Steve Hillage, Didier Malherbe, Tim Blake all Gong, Paul Sears of The Muffins and Linda Cushma from Oxygene8, amongst others) which ensures top notch performances.

However what it doesn't prevent is a tendency to over egg the pudding, with all too often broad strokes used when these impressionist pieces required deft dabs. When things are reeled in, "Time Is Monet" dances seductively on a sole violin motif or "Degas De La Marine on a gathering of crescendos which build and build until the song's conclusion. However weigh that against the overbearing Oldfield meets Jarre of "Pissaro King", or aimless "Gauguin Dans L'Autre" where very little happens before even less occurs, and you are left with a collection of linked songs which try though they might, remain far from achieving a cohesive narrative. Hillage does create chinks of light in the aforementioned gloom of "Gauguin..." and he and Chapman stick exponent Cushma also, quite successfully, inject a little more force into "Van Gogh...", yet not in a way which removes them from the tweeness of their surrounds.

In the end Impressionist Symphony is all too keen to take on background status and even though you can undoubtedly hear the integrity and effort that has gone into each of the eight tracks on display, there simply isn't enough here to hold the attention or stretch the imagination.

Track Listing
1. Renoir En Couleur
2. Time Is Monet
3. Pissarro King
4. Degas De La Marine
5. Van Gogh 3rd Ear
6. Gaughin Dans L'Autre
7. Lautrec Too Loose
8. Monet Time

Added: July 21st 2014
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Clearlight online
Hits: 1807
Language: english

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