CINEMA FACE -- Face Card (Renaissance)

Cinema Face is a prog-rock band out of Canada. They've taken a basic prog sound and brought in several outside influences--one of which, I'll bet you've never heard before. The disc gets off to a good start with "Call Again." Great vocals from Frank LaMagna, and a good tune all around. Next up is the title track, and this is where things get a bit different. The verses of the song sound sound a bit like early-70's Genesis, or possibly something from the first couple Alan Parsons Project albums. The twist comes in the middle of the song, when the tap dancer comes in. I don't think I've ever heard a tap dancer in a prog song before. The song takes on a bluesy, almost vaudeville feel during the tap 'solo.' How's that for originality?

The cover of Pink Floyd's "Have a Cigar" is the track that initially sparked my interest in Cinema Face. As with many cover versions though, it doesn't hold up against the original. Here, the arrangement is bombastic, and too heavy-handed (although I've heard you need to see this one performed live to really appreciate it). The next couple of songs sound like they got stuck in the 80's. "Only World" sounds a little too much like Styx. It's like "Sing for the Day" all over again. "World Leaders" is a killer though, with its thumping bass runs and stellar guitar solo.

In case you have trouble finding Face Card in your local record store, you can order it direct from Renaissance through their web site. Click here for more information on Cinema Face or any of the other Renaissance artists.

© 1997 Steve Marshall