Album review: SAGA – The Beginner’s Guide To Throwing Shapes/The Security Of Illusion

SAGA - The Beginner's Guide To Throwing Shapes

earMusic [Release date 04.09.15]

Following on from the recent best of, earMusic start their Saga re-issue campaign in earnest. They are releasing, in chronological order, the band’s studio albums between 1989 and 2007.  Each has bonus songs, often recently recorded live versions of the band’s classic back catalogue.

1989′s ‘The Beginner’s Guide To Throwing Shapes’ was the second album to feature the trio of Michael Sadler (vocals/keys), Jim Crichton (bass/keys) and Ian Crichton (guitars/synths) plus drummer Curt Cress (who is now a professor of music!). Like the album before, ‘Wildest Dreams’, the band had tapped into a synth heavy 80′s sound, topped off with the distinctive guitar solos of Ian Crichton. Highlights include ‘Starting All Over’, the band’s look to the future ‘The Nineties’ and the synth laden ‘How Do I Look’.

Bonus wise it is two of the band’s classic songs ‘Wind Him Up’ and ‘The Flyer’, both recorded in 2015. One of the band’s hidden gems of an album, which sure some of the synth sounds are distinctly 80′s yet the songs have more than stood the test of time. ****

The band then had a bit of a gap between studio albums with ‘The Security Of Illusion’ coming out in 1993. It also marked the return of drummer Steve Negus and keyboards player Jim Gilmour. I must admit I like this album more havign heard it a few more times for this review. It never quite captured my attention when it first came out, yet songs like ‘Mind Over Matter’ and ‘Alone Again Tonight’ are top notch hi-tech AOR/melodic rock.

There is definately a more progressive feel to the album overall, none more so than on ‘Without You’ with its big drum intro and Michael Sadler in fine vocal form. Another ‘must have’ and fans can enjoy the live bonus songs of ‘Scratching The Surface’ and ‘ Ice Nice’. ****

Review by Jason Ritchie

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