PHENOMENA – III: Innervision

Castle 1993 / Cherry Red 2018

PHENOMENA - III: Innervision

PHENOMENA –
III: Innervision

Sequel route sees another chapter of fantastic saga running away from the dream and into nowhere.

Nothing spells losing the plot more eloquently than having “rock” in the title of four tracks out of ten and “love” in the titles of three. Of course, these are the essentials of the music Tom Galley had initially set to create yet, with sci-fi element removed from his series’ third chapter, there’s not a lot of movement to the story. Which was probably why the record’s intended cover got discarded in favor of a more generic one – more perfectly capturing the lack of character in the “Innervision” songs. Pandering to the period’s production values rendered the project faceless, too.

No matter how focused Keith Murell’s vocals sound when he’s attempting to apply a one-singer approach to new pieces and hark back to the saga’s beginning, they feel difficult to inhabit, and the sagging of vigor is obvious in the “Kiss Of Fire” – “Hearts On Fire” – “Into The Fire” line running through the original trilogy, as keyboards-driven bombast blurs the emotional edge on what could have hit harder if taken out of context. As is, no amount of gospel sway, nor Brian May’s guitar harmonies on “A Whole Lotta Love” are able to elevate ballads above tasty cliches of the previous decade.

Opener “Rock House” has a great groove to it, laid by Michael Sturgis, with Scott Gorham’s licks stinging quite deliciously, and “Secret Of Love” is given a powerful panache, but the pop slant of "Dream Runner" is diluted on “Banzai” whose battle cry and riffs seem simply dull. And while the AOR likes of “How Much Do You Love Me?” don’t show any inner development, disco-minded “Shape It Up” would shake some action back in the day – had it seen proper push to the fore of the public’s attention. It didn’t, and the album didn’t stand the test of time; “Innervision” is largely forgotten now – deservedly so.

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February 3, 2019

Category(s): Reissues
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