Reissue of lost avant-AOR classic
Produced by King Crimson’s Robert Fripp and conceived as part of an “MOR Trilogy” which also included his own Exposure and Peter Gabriel’s second eponymous solo album, this prog-rock-soul oddity was recorded in 1977, only to be shelved by a too-timid RCA until 1980 (and deleted soon after). Time has not conspired to make the pairing seem any less bizarre, but Sacred Songs is, in fact, a true lost classic, a genuine one-off?and, along with Hall & Oates’ Todd Rundgren-produced opus from 1974, War Babies, further evidence of the grit beneath the shiny surfaces. Hall’s voice is predictably mellifluous throughout, while Bob’s guitar runs the gamut from angular skronk (“NYCNY”) to Frippertronic ambience (“Urban Landscape”, “Without Tears”). Best of all is “Survive”, a dignified, schmaltz-free FM rock ballad which sounds like a blueprint for Jeff Buckley’s swoonsome “Last Goodbye”. Radical yet tuneful, this is an album ripe for rediscovery.