also by Tangerine Dream:
The other stand-out album from Tangerine Dream's Paul Haslinger era (apart from "Underwater Sunlight") is a grandiose idea - a set of songs to William Blake poems combined with electronic instrumentals, and it's curiously executed. Starting with the catchy title track, the songs are performed by soul singer Jocelyn Bernadette Smith, whose vocals are set oddly against the metallic synthesiser backing. The poems are sometimes painfully overacted, as in "London" (notorious for the phonetic pronunciation of "Thames"!) but elsewhere tastefully restrained, as on "Smile".
The crisp synth arrangements, firmly set in the 1980's, are listenable, but they occasionally lose focus in the longer, instrumental-dominated numbers. It often strays into the prog rock territory of Pink Floyd, especially when Tangerine Dream mainstay Edgar Froese gets out his lead guitar. The most original moment is on the glowing "Smile", where a bubbling instrumental forms a spooky backing to Smith's smooth vocals. "21st Century Common Man", not on the original LP, is an uninteresting instrumental filler.
August 15, 2003