SAGA – The Beginner’s Guide To Throwing Shapes +1 [Remastered reissue 2021] HQ

SAGA - The Beginner's Guide To Throwing Shapes +1 [Remastered reissue 2021] HQ full

Over 40 years have passed since the Canadian melodic prog-rock institution SAGA released their self-titled debut album. Since then, they have been an exceptional musical phenomenon and toured the globe various times — all the while selling over 10 million albums worldwide.
In 2021, earMUSIC is celebrating the band’s four-decade legacy launching a reissue series exquisitely remastered and these “must own” releases will be welcome additions to the musical libraries of the Saga faithful.
1989’s “The Beginner’s Guide To Throwing Shapes” was the second Saga album without original drummer Steve Negus and longtime keyboardist / vocalist Jim Gilmour, and for first-time fans of the band this is not the ‘real’ Saga.
However, we disagree: the core of Ian & Jim Crichton and Michael Sadler is still here, and the band simply evolved to the mainstream rock sound ruling the late ’80s with an uber polished, bombastic sound.
This 2021 remaster is excellent, including as bonus track the rare 1991 single ‘The Call’.

While many of the trademark Saga arrangement remain intact, the presence of bombastic programmed drums, synth guitars and overall melodic rock sounds are the main motto here. And I love it; this is a true ’80s album, with a big, glossy production.
There’s lots of keyboards / synths all over the record, but tend to be used here more for texture and less for lead melodies and solos. Ian Crichton’s guitar though is quite prominent, as he cuts through the gloss of tracks like “How Do I Look”, “Shape”, or the hi-tech “The Nineties” with his distinctive guitar solos

I don’t know why, but “Starting All Over” always reminded me Foreigner, “Scarecrow” is a cool hard rocker, and “Waiting In The Wings” is actually a fantastic power pop / light prog tune with intricate instrumentation, one of the band’s best tunes and easily one of the highlights of the album.
The 7 minute closer “Giant” is also a strong tune, with crunchy guitar work and complex arrangements but could have used a stronger keyboard base.
A couple of nice bonus tracks are included in this “The Beginner’s Guide To Throwing Shapes 2015 Edition Remastered”; two Saga classics recently recorded.

“The Beginner’s Guide To Throwing Shapes” must be the less heard Saga album; not heard by first time fans of the band, and not heard by ’80s music aficionados.
Well, if you like early Saga, you better give this a second try; there’s a various tracks here in the vein of their classic era (just with a modern production).
And if you are fan of Eighties bombastic productions, slightly proggy melodic rock / rock&pop, and perfect instrumentation, then you need to discover “The Beginner’s Guide To Throwing Shapes”, and this definitive remastered edition (the sound is awesome, believe me) is the right way to do it.
Highly Recommended


01 – How Do I Look (Remastered)
02 – Starting All Over (Remastered)
03 – Shape (Remastered)
04 – Odd Man Out (Remastered)
05 – The Nineties (Remastered)
06 – Scarecrow (Remastered)
07 – As I Am (Remastered)
08 – Waiting in the Wings (Remastered)
09 – Giant (Remastered)
10 – The Call (1991 Single)

Michael Sadler: Vocals, Keyboards
Ian Crichton: Guitars, Synthaxe
Jim Crichton: Bass, Keyboards, Synthaxe
Curt Cress: Drums and Percussion



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