Turn of the Cards
Released: July 1974
Chart Peak: #94
Weeks Charted: 21
America's idea that the British have a special way with pop music is probably nothing more than the old crown-envy syndrome acting up again. If an American group tried the sort of thing Renaissance does -- or used such a name, or traded on pictures of castles on the album covers -- we'd probably be hooting "pompous" and "pretentious" and such. But the syndrome, the fascination, is there, and sometimes it's a good thing, keeping us at bay until we've listened. Renaissance is a little pretentious (and, being British, will get away with it), but the group makes pretty good sounds.
- Noel Coppage, Stereo Review, 10/74.
From its origins as a final resting place for fallen-by-the-wayside Yardbirds, Renaissance has evolved into a band proficient at early classical rock. Annie Haslam is an amazing vocalist, with an unusually wide range and a comprehension of emotive manipulation which is awesome. The Michael Dunford-Betty Thatcher writing team consistently produces strong material, and the production is such that Renaissance seems able to summon the gist of a thousand years' experiences at the snap of their finger. Nevertheless, the band lacks the virtuoso instrumentalists necessary to place their superior compositions on a popular par with those of Yes, EL&P and other giants in their field -- limiting Renaissance to the level of development classical rock knew in 1970. Within that restriction Turn of the Cards is a knockout, but one can't help get the feeling that time is passing this band by.
- Gordon Fletcher, Rolling Stone, 9/12/74.
An extension of 1973's Ashes Are Burning, even better produced and more unified thematically, but slightly lacking in the freshness and vibrancy of its predecessor, and the classicism is the strongest element. Some of the material has an almost topical basis, which made it most unusual for progressive rock at the time. * * *
- Bruce Eder, The All-Music Guide to Rock, 1995.
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