“Bullet” starts out almost like a straight up classical piece, before the band burst in with some psychedelic hard rock for what turns out to be the most rousing number in the set, showing that Relf & McCarty hadn’t forgotten their blues and rock roots…
All in all, this is an intriguing release, containing some rare material from the very first line-up of Renaissance, not long before the band would be completely revamped with all new members and taking the elements begun here to the next level.
Sea Of Tranquility (February 2017)
Of documentary as well as recreational interest are additional numbers that embrace ‘Try Believing’ (reminiscent faintly of Steams ‘Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye’) – a McCarty-Relf collaboration from the Yardbirds-Renaissance interregnum, and three demos from the period between the group’s return to England (and subsequent disbandment) and the 1975 reformation (as Illusion) of the surviving personnel of this original, and as far as I’m concerned, finest edition of Renaissance.
R2 Magazine (November 2016)
…this CD catches their performance live on stage that night, 46 years ago. The 4 tracks that they performed were ‘Innocence’, ‘Wanderer’, ‘No Name Raga’, and ‘Bullet’. Also included as bonus tracks are original demos and one previously unreleased song ‘Statues’, which was recorded in London on their return from that American trip.
Bev Bevan, Sunday Mercury (November 2016)
This disc showcases the talents or the early short-lived Renaissance line-up – the band formed by ex-Yardbirds Keith Relf and Jim McCarty. There’s a gentle, trippy, spiritual vibe to all of this, far removed from the heavy blues rock vibe of The Yardbirds. It’s an earnest kind of prog-rock – very much of its time, but none the worse for that. It’s easy to imagine the switched-on Fillmore audience nodding appreciatively to the gently shifting grooves and intertwining melody lines of guitar, bass and keyboards.
Shindig Magazine (October 2016)
‘Try Believing’ by Relf-McCarty presents a more cheerful, rocky face, with rhythmic guitar teeming with percussion as well as bass – Louis Cennamo thank you! Although this piece may have benefitted from more elaborate arrangements, it is eminently friendly and concludes this pleasantly unexpected album, including its share of nuggets. Fans of original Renaissance, you know what you have to do! 4 stars
Highlands Magazine (September 2016 – translated)
The demos are listed as ‘bonus tracks’, but with better sound quality these quickly become the selling point of the set. Less than twelve minutes between them, these tracks could have easily worked as B-sides, possibly A-sides, but unfortunately were lost in the annals of time until the turn of the millennium. Statues is a marvellous ditty with a subtle 7/8 time chorus, showing tendencies of progressive rock. I love the track I’d Love to Love You Till Tomorrow simply for its name. No further questions. Another favourite, Please Be Home, highlights Jane Relf’s beautiful vocals and is the only place on the album where her voice shines. All in all, it’s a peculiar set of tracks, but one that helps the listener further understand the first incarnation of the legendary band.
The Progressive Aspect (September 2016)
The sound here is basic, yet that somehow introduces a lo-fi charm, nearer to Relf and McCarty’s origins, keeping the five piece band away from the pomp-rock that later line-ups (devoid of original members) turned into a decent living…As a bonus there’s an unreleased studio track ‘Statues’, a workout for Relf’s vocalist sister Jane, and demos of several other unheard numbers.
Record Collector (September 2016)
…studio run through “Statues” – recorded soon after this San Francisco performance and added here as a bonus – starts to show how easily, and elegantly, the band could bend to pop idiom, one that brother and sister Relf would acoustically explore at home with the solemnly soulful “I’d Love To Love You Till Tomorrow” in 1976, shortly before Keith’s untimely death. Without him, “Please Be Home” which didn’t make the cut for the first album by ILLUSION, a new incarnation of the original RENAISSANCE, turned out rather chamber-like, if arresting, but as a reminder of the ensemble’s beginning, “Try Believing” – that gave the two Yardbirds an initial opportunity to test their new formula back in 1968, as TOGETHER – is a fittingly festive finale to the testament of the unique group’s continuity. An essential listen. 5 stars
DMME.net (September 2016)
Though this original version of the band was short-lived, you can hear the seeds of the classic Renaissance sound being born on this live recording, even though the band was completely overhauled just a short year later. Kicking off the set with “Innocence”, Relf’s effects laden guitar textures and Hawken’s majestic piano blend classical leanings with psychedelia, while the complex arrangement of “Wanderer” goes straight into the type of prog that the band would shortly become famous for, as the sinewy bass lines bounce around intricate passages of Hawken’s vast array of keyboards until Relf’s dreamy vocals come into play. The 14+ minute “No Name Raga” is more of a jam, again with plenty of psychedelic, folk, and prog rock elements fighting for supremacy, complete with some tasty guitar playing courtesy of Keith and layers of trippy keyboards from Hawken. “Bullet” starts out almost like a straight up classical piece, before the band burst in with some psychedelic hard rock for what turns out to be the most rousing number in the set, showing that Relf & McCarty hadn’t forgotten their blues and rock roots.
To round out the CD, Angel Air have included some bonus material, including the previously unreleased song “Statues” from 1970, an upbeat pop tune with a catchy hook and some nice piano, plus the demo cuts “I’d Love to Love You Tomorrow”, “Please Be Home”, and “Try Believing”…All in all, this is an intriguing release, containing some rare material from the very first line-up of Renaissance, not long before the band would be completely revamped with all new members and taking the elements begun here to the next level.
Sea Of Tranquility (September 2016)
This CD catches their performance live on stage that night, 46 years ago. The 4 tracks that they performed were ‘Innocence’, ‘Wanderer’, ‘No Name Raga’ and ‘Bullet’. Also included as bonus tracks are original demos and one previously unreleased song ‘Statues’, which was recorded in London on their return from that American trip.
Bev Bevan, Sunday Mercury (September 2016)
This band was formed by Keith Relf and drummer Jim McCarty in the aftermath of The Yardbirds’ sad demise, and Angel Air’s new offering was recorded in fairly murky sound quality at San Francisco’s Fillmore West in March 1970 during their one and only American tour, fleshed out a little with the inclusion of a few demo tracks, outtakes and hitherto unreleased 1976 track from vocalist Jane Relf entitled ‘Statues’.
Kevin Bryan, Regional Newspapers (August 2016)
Renaissance was a group that always fantasized and improvised, so the music lovers are best catered for. With 35 minutes of music, we are treated to an unreleased song (‘Statues’, 1970), a studio demo (‘Please Be Home ‘, 1976) and two home recordings where Keith Relf plays the lead role (‘Try Believing ‘, 1968 & ‘I’d Love To Love You Till Tomorrow’, 1976). As on his official solo single, you can hear a Keith Relf here that has nothing to do with The Yardbirds, nor Renaissance. ‘I’d Love To Love’ is a folk tune, whilst ‘Try Believing’ sounds very commercial. Renaissance are for music fans and Keith Relf enthusiasts.
Keys and Chords (August 2016)
…this record captures the band in full progressive rock mode, recorded as they supported the Butterfield Blues Band during a US tour. Although there are only four live tracks, these weigh in at suitably hefty lengths allowing the band to indulge in a mixture of extended keyboard and guitar workouts that place them somewhere between the psychedelia of Jefferson Airplane and the more progressive rock noodlings of Soft Machine. The Airplane feel is further enhanced by Jane Relf’s vocal, a slightly less self-assured Grace Slick. The album comes with the addition of demos and the previously unreleased light ’70s pop rock offering Statues.
Southern Daily Echo (August 2016)