Thursday, September 5, 2013

ARC ANGEL - "Harlequins Of Light"

Rating: RRR

Label: Frontiers

Review by Alan Holloway

Apparently we should all have heard of Jeff Cannata, a Connecticut native who has been writing and producing and playing rock music since the mid seventies. he's done the prog thing with Jasper Wrath, but makes Boston look productive with just three Arc Angel albums in thirty years!

Bundled in with a "Melodic Rock" tag, "Harlequins Of Light" certainly isn't what I would call an AOR album, as Cannata has some serious prog roots that are still anchored. The whole album has a nice feel of the likes of Magnum (early stuff) or Styx. There's prodigious keyboard hooks plus some very late seventies style choruses ("Fortune Teller", for example, is very dated, although still a solid track). Cannata himself has a good voice, if nothing special, pretty well suited to the type of music he produces. It all goes a bit west coast with "California Daze", a predictably upbeat, happy song, but generally the album is solid rock with a prog feel to it.

"Harlequins Of Light" is certainly enjoyable, although the production could be beefier. The fact that it has a dated feel at times doesn't help, giving it a hippy vibe that doesn't always work. I think if you like Magnum in the days before "Storytellers..." you will really enjoy what Jeff Cannata has offered up here, especially closing track "Legend Of The Mary Celeste" (a track so early Magnum it's scary). It's not quite good enough for the fourth "R", but it's close, and this is certainly worth checking out.

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