Fantasy - Paint a Picture. 1973 England

My experience with Fantasy is very similar to that of Spring, and my review there covers much of those thoughts. In summary, Paint a Picture is one of those albums that was hyped pretty heavily in the rare LP catalogs of the late 80s and early 90s, with screaming headlines about how progressive it was, with mellotrons everywhere. And I mean look at that cover! 1973 England! My mind went wild expecting a crazy full blown progressive rock opus. Oh, this is going to be magnificent. I picked up the first Second Battle LP as soon as it became available (and they weren't cheap even then), and... HUH?

Well as you can see by my rating, I've reconciled with Fantasy. Again it was all about expectation setting. I was looking for something along the lines of Yes' Close to the Edge, and what I got was a typical early 70s UK album as found on the Dawn label for example. A little Jonesy, Fruupp, Quicksand, etc... Except I didn't know much about those bands back then, and it's a different kind of progressive rock than what I understood the term to mean at the time.

In effect Paint a Picture is all about the individual songs themselves. None of them go too far astray from their original premise, excepting perhaps 'Circus', the one track that did resonate with me originally. Each of these songs are well written, with plenty of great guitar and keyboards (little Mellotron honestly),and are great for relistenability (trademark pending). It's the type of album one wishes had been more popular with FM radio, rather than the direction they ultimately headed in. For 1973, it's decidedly quaint and a bit out of touch. As others have mentioned, it really does sound like an album from 1970, with a more late 60s psychedelic era approach to composition, verse the full blown concepts of 1973. A very fine album once you understand what it contains.

Personal collection
LP: 1990 Second Battle (Germany)
CD: 2001 Polydor (Japan)

As noted above, the cover is a beautiful gatefold. Originals are very expensive, and I'm fine with the reissue here. The CD comes in a mini-LP format and replicates the original to the finest detail. Mine is part of the Cressida Asylum box set, as packaged by Disk Union in Japan

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