'Harlequins Of Light'
Release Date: 23rd August 2013
Gary 'Rockulus' Clarke
For all intents and purposes Arc Angel is Jeff Cannata; a one man multi-instrumental collective including lead vocals, and an individual connected to other adult orientated rock related projects with progressive leanings like his solo output as Cannata. If you're a fan of cover versions as I am, then maybe when time permits, check out 'My Back Pages' consisting of sixties and seventies era songs which are given a makeover under the moniker of Cannata.
Incidentally if you're a fan of James Christian, the voice of the mighty House Of Lords, then you may be interested to know that he and Cannata worked together in a band called Jasper Wrath from 1973 to 1976.
Back to the business in hand, 'Harlequins Of Light' clocks in as studio album number three for Arc Angel who are quite possibly still reliving the acclaim bestowed upon them when they released their self-titled debut back in 1983. That 80s album is still discussed in terms of quality and cult status has grown as a consequence.
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There are twelve songs contained within 'Harlequins Of Light', and the proceedings kick off with the title track. The listener is introduced to the presentation with some lush keyboards and some tinkling of the ivories, before more instrumentation is brought in. This album is melodic, progressive and well structured. The familiar symphonic layers that bring the drama to the table only add to this opening song in complimentary outbursts.
'As Far As the Eye Can See' reveals some obvious hooks and brings about a certain comfort to the experience, whilst third track 'War (Battle Wounds Of Life)' brings a sombre note. Thus far, sensible lyrics work in conjunction with an appropriate vocal delivery and the great production values and arrangements which are all thanks to Cannata.
Whilst listening to 'Voice Of Illuminati', comparisons to the Brummie melodic rocking legends Magnum wouldn't be too far of a stretch. The same could be said of 'Get To You' with its quirky melody line. But if you're after potential highlights on 'Harlequins Of Light', look no further than the beautiful ballad 'Through The Night' containing hints of the Alan Parsons Project seducing modern day Marillion; 'Amnesia (The Rest Of Your Life)' complete with a subtle nod to classy 80s moments from bands like Toto, and 'California Daze' with an introduction that doesn't prepare you for the up-tempo vibe that the song carries to its conclusion.
It's a hard album to suss.
Depending on your mood and your mind-set it could be a really tasty effort. Then on other occasions when listening to 'Harlequins Of Light' it feels quite dull and too similar and refined.
Harlequins Of Light
As Far As The Eye Can See
War (Battle Wounds Of Life)
Voice Of Illuminati
Through The Night
Amnesia (The Rest Of Your Life)
Fortune Teller 2
Get To You
Diamonds And Gold
Legend Of The Mary Celeste
Jeff Cannata: Lead and Background Vocals, Drums, Bass, Keyboards, Guitars
Jeff Batter: Acoustic Piano, Synths
Jay Rowe: Organ, Synths
Scott Spray: Bass Guitar
David Coe: Acoustic Guitar
Jimi Bell, Gary Maus, Andy Abel, Tony Spada, Mark Proto, Jay Jesse Johnson: Lead Guitars
Pete Hodson: Background Vocals, Synth
Produced By Jeff Cannata