Saga: 20/20 (2012)
20/20 marks the popular Canadian ensemble's 20th release. Here, original vocalist Michael Sadler rejoins the unit, and adds melodious overtones to its stylish, cross-functional melding of pop-rock, progressive rock and progressive metal. Enamored by a first-rate production and a largely memorable track mix, the artists go for the gusto, synchronizing technical veracity with surging rock anthems. On an album short on filler material, Saga divulges high-caliber musicianship with thrusting pulses, climactic crescendos and tricky time signatures.
"Anywhere You Wanna Go" is a prime example of the artists' ability to bridge the gap between catchy, radio-friendly pop and high-velocity rock, with a souped-up, heavily amplified inference to fabled British band, XTC. This piece could surface as a cover tune for other units.
Add guitarist Ian Crichton's steamy legato lines atop Jim Gilmour's swirling electric keys, and the tuneful storyline takes on a bit of a hard-nosed edge. It's a composition that is indicative of the band's commercial appeal, yet also counterbalances its driving technical focus while touching upon the various modalities and timeworn approaches of the progressive rock idiom.
Personnel: Michael Sadler: lead vocals, keyboards; Ian Crichton: guitar; Jim Gilmour: main keyboards, vocals; Jim Crichton: bass, keyboards; Brian Doerner: drums.
Record Label: Eagle Records