Pendragon - The Window Of Life,
This is the first Pendragon album recorded at Nick’s own studio, which has meant that he has could spend the time he wanted to on it. They have ended up with an album that is a logical progression from ‘The World’ and adds extra elements to the instantly recognisable Pendragon sound. One of these is the harder edge to Nick’s guitar, which is aided and abetted by Mr. Groom at the controls. Opener “The Walls of Babylon” starts with some long held-down chords by Clive, which provide a backdrop for Nick to lay down some guitar lines a la Pink Floyd. This provides a very strong atmospheric start to the album, and a real sense of something getting ready to happen. It is the perfect introduction as it gently lulls you in: the guitar gently dies, the chords get a little more menacing, and then Fudge and Peter raise the tempo. It has taken more than four minutes for the song to start properly, but it is more than worth it as it drives along. It changes moods and style throughout the eleven minutes. “Ghosts” starts with a gentle piano introduction, to which is added gentle vocals and acoustic guitar. After a while, it moves into the area of late Seventies Genesis, but while there are definite nods to that, always it is Pendragon at the helm. The piano makes a very welcome return, with restrained guitarwork all providing the backdrop to some of Nick’s best vocals. He says that finally he has a microphone he is happy with and it shows.
“Breaking The Spell” clocks in at more than nine minutes and is extremely powerful with some great guitar. There are some very long instrumental passages on this, which show Pendragon off in their best light. Fudge, Peter, Clive and Nick have been playing together for so long now that there is a real understanding between them. The guitar solo is extended but it is all part of the music, and the rest of the guys provide the perfect backdrop for Nick as they build up to the climax and the return of the vocals. “The Last Man On Earth” is my favourite on the album and is also the longest at nearly fifteen minutes. Still, it is divided into two parts, both of which are separate songs in their own right. “Skylight” is gentle and light, with the emphasis on the vocals with a minimal backing but gradually this becomes more of a rock number which dies into virtually nothing until “Paradise Road” comes blasting out. Lo and behold Nick is riffing the guitar, but as the chords come powering out attention is drawn to the amazing drumming of Fudge as he powers around the kit. Fudge plays the best on this album he has ever done, a result of being able to record ‘live’ for the first time. This song shows Pendragon at their most dominant and defies anyone not to fall in love with them; this song should be played at the max! “Nostradamus” begins gently, but rapidly becomes a bouncy Pendragon number that is easily the most commercial on the album. This is the sort of song that would be in the charts if there was any justice in the world. We close with “Am I Really Losing You?” which is more of a ballad. It gradually builds up but is faded out as it brings the album to its close. To my ears this is the best Pendragon album to date and would grace any CD collection.