Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Saturnalia - Magical Love (1969)

Perhaps the most interesting things about Saturnalia did not involve their actual music. Their rare 1969 album was produced by Keith Relf shortly after he had left the Yardbirds; it was also one of the first rock LPs issued as a picture disc. Perhaps reflecting Relf's own vision in early Renaissance, the music was early progressive rock with a serious classical-influenced tone combining male and female lead vocals, though with less distinction than Renaissance did either when Relf was in the band or in their more internationally successful 1970s work.
01. Magical Love
02. She Brings Peace
03. And I Have Loved You
04. Winchester Town
05. Traitor
06. Soul Song
07. Princess And The Peasant Boy
08. Dreaming
09. Step Out Of Line
Saturnalia's sole and rare album was on the ostentatious side of early progressive rock, perhaps slightly anticipating some of the earnest classical-rock-fusion-with-female-vocals explored by Renaissance in the 1970s. The songs tend toward the winding and ponderous side, and the vocals -- especially those by female singer Aletta -- can cross into the histrionic in the more strident passages. Perhaps a little more influenced by the male-female vocal tradeoffs typical of some late-'60s American psychedelic bands than most such British efforts, it also boasts plenty of hard rock guitar and a good helping of lyrics reflective of a fantasy world, à la "Princess and the Peasant Boy" and the title track. As the song that brings in the strongest British acoustic folk feel, "Dream" is one of the more palatable tracks, but groups such as Renaissance were able to craft more accessible and memorable material using some of the same elements.
(motto )
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