(9/10) I can remember when I came in touch with Saga for the very first time. Actually it was a Saga album which was one of the first records I bought. It was in 1982 when the band released "In transit" - the famous live album. Songs like "Humble stands" are amazing - also after all those years. Since then I'm following the path of the guys from Canada.
In all those years one thing became clear to me. The real Saga sound can be only played by Saga. What I'm trying to say here is, that major changes in the band might still lead to some good music, but it's not Saga anymore. I can remember the period when Michael Sadler left the band. It was not the same anymore. It's his distinctive voice which is such an important part for the recognistion value of the band. It's as much important as the typcial Saga guitar riffs, the keyboard soundscapes, the pumping basslines and drumsound. All those are the trademarks which Saga established in all these years - 37 years in total.
So let's have a look into the new album "Sagacity". The name is the first intersting thing. It's a wordplay. The word stand for cleverness and wisdom. And this is valid for Saga; no doubt. Sagacity is relevent for how the band writes their song, arrange their tunes and create the lyrics. It's also smart what the Canadian guys did on the new album when it's about combining old strengths with new elements. Singer Michael Sadler outlined that "Sagacity" turns back to old elements which made the band so popular, by still being in the here & now. And they succeeded. The opener "Let it slide" is a good example for the statement of Stadler.
The most outstanding track got the name "Press 9". Starting with the sound of dialing a phone the song stays very puristic. The keyboard builds the base and the acoustic guitar joins along the way. It is a very silent song which I think makes it so special. In case that "Press 9" is too relaxed for you "Wake up" pushes you out of your dreams. The 'wake up' shout in the beginning brings you immediatley back to reality. Not only based on that the first few seconds are a bit perplexing. The keys samples sound like the beginning of a dancefloor track. But as soon as the guitar riff starts a few seconds later it becomes clear that you are still listening to Saga. The riff is by the way a really heavy one. The rocking guitar also continues with "Don't forget to breath". Actually it's the whole middle part which is hard rocking.
Next to that there are the more comlex soundscapes which Saga is famous for. "It doesn't matter" is one of these tunes as well as "I'll be". Funny sidenote: The last song, which is "I'll be", ends with some sounds of bells. For me persoanlly the link to "In transit" which also ends with the bells from the Copenhagen City Hall.
To sum up: The predecessor "20/20" was already a good Saga record. With "Sagacity" the band made even another step further. It's music on a high level with no dips. For me it's one of the best albums from Saga and I hope that they will continue this path. They haven't reach their limits.
- Let it slide
- Vital signs
- It doesn't matter who you are
- Go with the flow
- Press 9
- Wake up
- Don't forget to breathe
- The further you go
- On my way
- No two sides
- I'll be