A bunch of miscellanea that (mostly) never made it on to the Pendragon albums of the 1980s. As is usual for compilations of this kind it's a bitty listen. It starts on a cheesy note with the jokey-toned pop song "Saved By You", featuring some odd macho grunting and fairly dodgy lyrics, which also appeared on their proper album "Kowtow". It's a natural partner to that album as it shows Pendragon in their more poppy, soft rock period. Nick Barrett's histrionic singing and earnest lyrics don't make up for some of their wetter tunes which are featured here. A particularly cringeworthy number is the Status Quo-ish "The Red Shoes".
But after wading through the throwaway stuff, the compilation's most interesting tracks come towards the end. "Fly High, Fall Far" has a strong crunching guitar riff, although the song is marred by a messy production. "Victims of Life" must be the most powerful track here, the pick of the bunch for those who prefer Pendragon more proggy. It starts off with a rocking full band instrumental, a better example of what the soft-prog genre is capable of, then continues with a listenable, if a little podgy, atmospheric anthem. "Dark Summer's Day" has a mellow, lilting tune, and "Excalibur" is a routine but energetic instrumental workout.
September 14, 2003