The lead singer of a band is the key focal point for audience identification and fan recognition, regardless of whether or not that importance is perception or fact. Few rock groups have been able to maintain established success after having to replace their frontman, including groups such as Genesis, Van Halen and Journey. Fortunately for the band Saga, they were only required to endure this potential detriment to their 35-year career for one release. Michael Sadler returns to front the 20th studio release from the progressive-rock quintet from Canada, and the resulting release, "20/20" is a welcomed return to form for the band and its fans.
Formed in 1977, Sadler, keyboardist Jim Gilmour, and the guitar/bass strength of the brothers Ian and Jim Crichton struck radio gold in the early 80’s with their hits "On The Loose" and "Wind Him Up," establishing a signature sound of fancy keyboard hooks with the energy of Sadler’s vocals. Those two early hits gave Saga worldwide attention, and they’ve been able to record and tour since those early days. As happens to many groups in the prog-rock genre, their worldwide fans far outnumber those in the U.S., but many popular European tours later (as well as their sustained popularity in Puerto Rico), the group lives on, releasing new sets of music for its listeners.
"20/20" is a strong return to form for the band. The title is not only in reference to Saga’s 20th release, but it is an honorable mention to Gilmour, who underwent successful retina re-attachment surgery last December. With Sadler once again handling the lead vocals, the cohesion between his voice and the tight musicianship of his bandmates is clearly evident from the opening riffs of the opening cut, "Six Feet Under" to the closing track, "Till the Well Runs Dry."
This album will definitely satisfy Saga’s fans, and should garner them new ones based on the strength of its material.
CD and Digital formats
Eagle Rock Entertainment / earMusic (edel)