Arlekin - Disguise Serenades

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Arlekin - Disguise Serenades

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  • Digital
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1 reviews

So when the mood strikes…
Overall rating 


March 26, 2016
Very “Marillion-esque,” especially the Script For A Jester’s Tear era of the band. I mean, seriously, there’s even a song here with the word “Jester” in its title. The singer even tries to sound like Fish on almost every occasion, although without the quirky perfection (see below).

In truth, there’s plenty here to satisfy most fans of early Marillion (and, in turn, early Genesis). The music/musicianship and instrumentation are just fine overall, and the general mood/atmosphere of the album fits in reasonably well with the early-Genesis/early-Marillion albums. It’s in the vocal department where things get a bit “iffy” (ie. an acquired taste), hence my rather average rating. Let me explain…

As mentioned, the singer does a “Fish impersonation” throughout just about every track, yet sadly his vocals are frequently a tad “off.” There’s “quirky good” (as in the case of Fish, where the occasional precarious singing is endearing when delivered with passion and high drama) and then there’s “quirky bad,” in the case of Arlekin’s vocalist. Some of his vocal passages are acceptable (usually when he’s singing short-noted, wordy passages such as during the verses and the dramatic bridge section near the end of “Dance Of The Jester”) whereas some of them (when he’s attempting to hold longer notes, as in the chorus of the same track or during most of the song “Romance” or in the final section of “The Lost Path”) are, frankly, sorely off-key and just on the very edge of being unlistenable. Thankfully it seems the “acceptable” outweigh the “unlistenable.” Nevertheless, buyer definitely beware. (Oddly, and this may be shocking—it was to me—there are some sections of songs, around the 5:00 minute mark of “In This Puzzled Roundabout,” as an example, where the singer has actually overdubbed his vocal lines. With the problems mentioned above regarding the singer’s tendency to be off-key, his doubled voice may seem a horrible idea—one track might be bad enough, but two???—but actually this makes him sound much better—fuller sounding, and less off-putting—at least to me. Anyway, just thought I’d mentioned the irony.)

Now then, despite my criticism, I can indeed see myself returning to this album in the future, probably numerous times, since (as mentioned above) the atmosphere and collection of songs fit nicely alongside other albums of a similar musical style of which I am fond. So when the mood strikes…

Anyway, the tracks “The Lost Path,” “Dance Of The Jester,” and “In This Puzzled Roundabout” bring to mind some classic tracks by other prog-rock bands such as IQ or Pallas (and, obviously, Marillion/Genesis). Hopefully the band, should they stay together and keep writing/recording more material (and I pray they do, since there is talent here in abundance), will correct the problems in the vocal department. There’s no musical law preventing a band from asking the singer to re-record a line or two, folks, so before putting the final stamp of approval on each track and calling it a day, listening carefully and fixing problem melodies or performances before unleashing your future output to the public’s ears will make all the difference in the world!
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