Renaissance – Can You Understand?

Here we have everything that was derided in 70s music, or prog rock in particular,  encapsulated in one song. Overblown, po-faced and quasi-mystical;  utterly devoid of  the self-deprecation that is the hallmark of English popular culture. The pinnacle of the mountain of fairy dust that punk rock came and blew away in the late 70s, confining records like this to folk clubs in Richmond-upon-Thames and the exulted memories of disillusioned musos who could never quite accept it was possible to make a record without having a grade 8 in classical guitar.  And yet … there’s something undeniably brilliant about this song. Maybe it’s the not knowing where the fuck it’s going to go next on first listen, maybe the earnestness with which it embraces the most staggeringly comical arrangement, maybe the generically bewitching female vocal or maybe it’s just the fact that I first heard this at 5am in a particularly heightened state of befuddlement that it will always remain a guilty pleasure. There’s probably a drum n bass remix in there somewhere. Shout outs to Leo Zaines on this one.

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