The story of Welsh band Magenta starts back in the year 2001 when Rob Reed released the double album “Revolutions” which could be seen as a tribute to the symphonic rock of bands like Genesis and Yes. This studio-only project had such a success that the public demanded live shows. So a band was formed around Rob Reed and female singer Christina. In 2004 the band released the second album “Seven”, a concept album about the seven deadly sins. This great album had some strong Renaissance influences. And after some singles and a double live album “Another Time, Another Place” the band released in 2005 their first DVD “The Gathering”. And now there is a new studio album called “Home”. Initially pretended as a double concept album, the band removed four long epics and presented “Home” as a single album that is more song orientated. Later on the band decided to release those four long epics plus a reprise as a special additional disc called “New York Suite”. As a limited edition you can now buy Magenta's “Home” + “New York Suite”.
Rob Reed - Keyboards, Bass,
Guitars, Backing Vocals, Recorder, Tambourine, Grand Piano, Mandolin,
Acoustic Guitar; Christina - Lead Vocals; Chris
Fry - Lead Guitar; Martin
Rosser - Lead Guitar;
Dan Fry - Bass; Allan Mason Jones - Drums
Tim Robinson - Drums; Martin Shellard - Guitar; Lee Goodall - Tenor Saxophone; Hywel Maggs - Guitar; Christian Philips - Guitar, Backing Vocals; Troy Donockley - Uileann Pipes, Whistles; Mal Pope - Backing Vocals; Lorrain King - Backing Vocals
The “Home” album opens with a beautiful melody sung by Christina and only accompanied by a piano. That delicate piano can be heard throughout the whole album. The influences of the big prog bands can still be found on this album but they slowly melts into the own Magenta sound. In the first up tempo part of “Hurt” you can hear Yes and in the second slow part you will think of Pink Floyd. One of the many highlights of this album is “Moving On” which has some classical influences, great melodies and a soaring guitar solo. The vocal harmonies and the saxophone gives the piece a touch of Floyd. “My Home Town (Far Away)” has some Oldfield influences. And in “The Journey” the organ sound reminds me of the old Genesis. Talking about Genesis, the symphonic opening of “Demons” is a tribute to the early period of Steve Hackett. “Morning Sunlight” is a delicate ballad with acoustic guitar and great vocal melodies and harmonies. The second part of “Joe” has some nice instrumental passages with typical Magenta sound which includes a mix of influences of Yes, Renaissance and Oldfield. The last part has a breathtaking vocal melody with strong Renaissance influences (Did you know that the band has released a single entitled “Night and Day” written by Rob Reed and Christina for Annie Haslam!). “The Visionary” has all the variation a good progrock composition needs. In the end Christina can reach the high pitched note that only Annie Haslam could reach in her golden period. The opening of “Journey's End” is pure beauty and further has delicious guitar parts on a bed of orchestral keyboard layers. And what about “The Traveler's Lament” the intro for the title track “Home”. Guest player Troy Donockley is playing his Uileann Pipes and together with Christina's vocals gives “Home” a touch of Iona. But like the album opening the album ends with the piano.
The additional disc “New York Suite” includes the four epic's “Arrival”, “Home From Home”, “White Lies”, “Truth” and ”This Life (Reprise)”. In those four long tracks are lots of instrumental passages. The keyboards in these tracks brings often a classical atmosphere. “Home From Home” is one of my favorite tracks because it has a beautiful and catchy vocal refrain. Symphonic Rock lovers will like this additional disc a lot.
“Home” shows a mature band that has grown. The band is developing an own style without throwing away her influences of the golden period of Symphonic Rock in the seventies. “Home” is more song-orientated then the previous studio albums. It even has some pop influences. I think that with “Home” the band will reach a bigger audience. The big man of Magenta is of course Rob Reed but throughout the album Christina is the shinning star. She sings better then ever. Often she reminds me of Renaissance singer Annie Haslam ... the biggest compliment that a female singer could get.