Saga release their latest album and the second since vocalist Michael Sadler returned to the band's line-up a few years ago. This is not as instant as their last album '20/20' taking a few plays to fully reveal its delights. Stick with it though as it is one of their best, not that the band have ever done a really duff album.

The whole band get their chance to shine, be it Ian Crichton laying down some blistering solos on 'Let It Slide' or the keys/synths of Jim Gilmour (and Sadler I'd guess) on 'It Doesn't Matter Who You Are'. Michael Sadler's vocals are as strong and melodic as you;d expect, with new(ish) drummer Mike Thorne slotting in nicely with bassist Jim Crichton.

'Go With The Flow' sounds like Yes bizarrely, with a Steve Howe approved guitar intro leading into a melody reminiscent of 80's era Yes. Even the keyboard solo has the whiff of Rick Wakeman about it! I simply love 'Press 9', from the tongue in cheek lyrics where you can solve life's problems by pressing a button on an imaginary call centre through to the vocal harmonies and lush, yet subtle musical backing.

'Wake Up' does just that, one of their heaviest songs that jolts the listener after the relative calm of 'Press 9'. The epic 'I'll Be' is another stand out, they create such wonderful soundscapes that are in depth enough to keep the prog rock brigade happy and melodies to draw in the melodic rock/hard rock fans.

Saga just keep producing wonderful and absorbing music, long may they continue. Only one thing missing, UK dates please chaps! ****1/2

Review by Jason Ritchie



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