Rick Wakeman: A Gallery Of The Imagination album review

Rick Wakeman's latest concept album presents the songs as if they were pictures in a gallery

Rick Wakeman: A Gallery Of The Imagination cover art
(Image: © Snapper Music)

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As a true prog rocker Rick Wakeman is acutely aware of the visual presentation of his music, whether that’s the glittering cape he wears onstage or a bunch of ice skaters dancing around to one of his concept albums. 

In his dotage he’s turned the tables. The music on his latest album is aimed at challenging listeners to actively create their own impressions through painting, sculpting, dancing or whatever. But the tracks are not a succession of ambient scene setting. 

Wakeman has conjured up a variety of moods and styles, from the festive Cuban Carnival to the memory-driven A Day Spent On The Pier, although there is a dreamlike atmosphere to A Mirage In The Clouds and My Moonlight Dream.

Eight of the twelve tracks have vocals by Hayley Sanderson who follows Wakeman’s lead and skilfully brings out the different lyrical themes while the English Rock Ensemble echo and embellish Wakeman’s sonic sketches.

Hugh Fielder

Hugh Fielder has been writing about music for 47 years. Actually 58 if you include the essay he wrote about the Rolling Stones in exchange for taking time off school to see them at the Ipswich Gaumont in 1964. He was news editor of Sounds magazine from 1975 to 1992 and editor of Tower Records Top magazine from 1992 to 2001. Since then he has been freelance. He has interviewed the great, the good and the not so good and written books about some of them. His favourite possession is a piece of columnar basalt he brought back from Iceland.