Band: Twelfth Night
Band Website: www.twelfthnight.info
Label: F2 Music
Release Date: 2010
I remember back in 1984 when I special ordered a copy of the album Art & Illusion byTwelfth Night. It came in the mail and I was disappointed that it turned out to be more of an EP than a full length album. And I was also surprised that the music had become so much more mainstream. Now listening to Festival Music’s Art & Illusion – The Definitive Edition and reading the liner notes, I have a better sense of what was going down. This is Twelfth Night at the crossroads; a band made up of Brian Devoil (drums), Rick Battersby (keyboards), Andy Revell (guitar), Clive Mitten (bass) and Andy Sears (vocals). This was a bit of transition period for the band and as such they released this mini album of shorter more accessible pieces, holding back at least three longer tracks that eventually wound up elsewhere.
With this Definitive 2-disc edition we not only get the original mini album but also the three held back tracks as well as most of the originals in an earlier version all on one disc. Disc two provides us with 12 unreleased tracks from the same era showing the band in all their live glory. As already mentioned this was at a time when Twelfth Night were going through some changes and the decision to release the shorter tracks was very much a band decision. In an effort to gain a wider audience it was a decision that caught many fans off guard. The music is very much a product of the times both in terms of style and sound. The particular drum and synth sounds are those that take you back to a time of big hair and shiny clothing, still it represents a period where progressive rock was making a great effort to come back into the mainstream. In that context this is an important recording because it documents not only the band but the time.
Art & Illusion – The Definitive Edition is a welcome addition to the collection. Two discs worth of music plus some serious liner notes make for a really engaging package. Twelfth Night fans and completists will easily see the value in adding this to the collection. Others may wince at the music a bit but for those like me, who were there at the time this is a nice package to have. Kudos to Festival Music for taking the time to put it together.