What does it sound like?:
As Anthony Phillips says in the sleeve notes of this two cd reissue, when this album was originally released in 1983, it was an attempt to broaden his appeal and widen his then mainly prog loving audience, Well, everyone has to pay their bills I suppose. Although the album is now credited solely to Phillips, in its original incarnation it was credited to both him and his collaborator Richard Scott, who co-wrote most of the material, and even supplied lead vocals on a few songs.
The running order of the album has now been switched to what was originally intended, while the second cd has sixteen previously unreleased demos and alternate takes plus a few songs that never quite made it. The album is a very song based affair, eschewing the pastoral prog stylings of old, and I suppose that was never going to sit particularly well with his core audience. The whole album does have a very much ‘of its time’ eighties programmed sound, and the songs are rather reminiscent of perhaps the later Moody Blues efforts or Genesis in the poppier vein of their later years. The strongest songs are Exocet and The Women Were Watching, which both have at least a bit of bite to them, but the rest of the songs are quite samey and rather bland – as soon as you’ve heard them, you’ve forgotten them. There are three bonus tracks supplementing the original album, The Ballad Of Penlee being the strongest. There is a generous selection of unreleased contemporaneous material on he second cd, some of which was reworked in different versions for future albums, but again this is very much a mixed bag, with the pick of the bunch being Mysterious Constitution Of Comets and Finale.
What does it all *mean*?
Even Phillips’ most ardent, avid fans would have to concede this is one of his weaker efforts, and one that hasn’t aged particularly well at that. Overall, it’s a flawed effort, where stand out moments are few and far between. For devotees and completists only.
Goes well with…
Pleasant background music, easy on the ear.
Might suit people who like…
Later era Genesis, Moody Blues.