- Released: July 15, 1997
- Label: Pet Rock Records
- 3.Northern Lights
- 4.No Beginning, No End
- 5.Only When I Laugh
- 6.The Body Machine
- 7.Writers Wronged
- 8.Island of Avalon
INNOCENTS AND ILLUSIONS compiles the albums RENAISSANCE and ILLUSIONS, as well as bonus tracks.
Renaissance includes: Keith Ralf (vocals); Jim McCarty (drums).
Recorded between 1969 & 1998. Includes liner notes by David Wells.
Personnel: Annie Haslam (vocals, background vocals); Michael Dunford (acoustic guitar, background vocals); Bimbo Acock (flute); John Tout, Eddie Hardin, Rod Edwards , Mike Taylor (keyboards); Jon Camp (bass guitar, background vocals); Terence Sullivan, Gavin Harrison, Peter Baron, Ian Mosley, David Dowle (drums).
Recording information: Basement Studio, London, England; Herne Place Studios, Sunningdale Berkshire, England; Maison Rou; Masion Rouge, London, England.
Best known for their light progressive sound, Renaissance combines startling vocals with resonant classical arrangements that results in a truly unique musical concoction. Songs From Renaissance Days is a mixture of both released and unreleased material that features Annie Haslam, Michael Dunford, and Jon Camp. With five different keyboard players strewn across the album's ten songs, the progressive air is well established, but not to be outdone by Haslam's enchanting voice. A timelessness is passionately felt on "Africa" and again on "Dreamaker," as the music washes over the lyrics conveying wispy aural illusions. The mystical atmosphere of "Northern Lights" is enhanced by the ghost-like vocal chorus, and exemplifies this band's sound better than any song of the set. While the synthesizer isn't powerfully dominating as in other progressive music, it's use is wisely intermingled with acoustic guitar and shimmering vocals as one of the most effective devices in each song. The beauty of Renaissance's music hides within the richness of the vocals, but it's the aid of the surrounding music that adds the extra element of mysteriousness to their sound. Other compilations offer a better insight into this group's music, but Songs From Renaissance Days is a stunning example of this band's unconventional progressive flavor. ~ Mike DeGagne