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Articles Home » 1999 Articles » Fantasy - 1999 Beyond The Beyond Plus..
Fantasy - 1999 Beyond The Beyond Plus..

ARTIST: Fantasy
ALBUM: Beyond The Beyond Plus..
LABEL: Audio Archives
YEAR: 1999


LINEUP: Paul Lawrence - 12 string guitar, vocals * David Read - bass, double bass, vocals * David Metcalfe - keyboards, clarinet, vocals * Peter James - lead guitar, vocals Jon Webster - drums, vocals * Geoff Whitehorn - lead guitar * Paul Petley - lead vocals * Brian Chattam - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Introduction * 02 Beyond The Beyond * 03 Reality * 04 Alanderie * 05 Afterthought * 06 Worried Man * 07 Just A Dream * 08 Winter Rose * 09 Church Clock * 10 Fire Fire (bonus) * 11 Vacuum (bonus) * 12 Alone (bonus) * 13 Afterthought (bonus, original) * 14 Church Clock (bonus, original)

As the legend goes, this band when they signed their five album deal with Polydor went by the very cool moniker of Firequeen, and yet a tell tale first sign that luck was not on their side, the execs at Polydor, well aware of London upstarts Queen requested a name change to avoid any confusion and Fantasy was chosen with the label excuse - to better fit the lyrics. How much stock you wish to put in this well worn tale is up to you, but like the Queen debut, Fantasy's first and only album 'Paint A Picture' released in 1973 remains a masterpiece of British rock. Melodic and progressive in a very commercial setting, the album should have been huge, but the label after all their meddling failed to capitalize on the band, releasing a lowly single and dropping the promotional ball, despite Fantasy's extensive roadwork supporting Genesis, Uriah Heep, Supertramp, Greenslade, Robin Trower and Argent.

The Songs
Undeterred, Fantasy recorded a second album which was rejected immediately by Polydor for unspecified reasons. My guess is 1974 at the absolute height of Glam rock in the UK, the new recordings sounded like yesterday's news which was extremely unfortunate with the tapes languishing in a vault until 1990. Released as 'Beyond The Beyond' in 1992 by the Audio Archives label, the first edition with inferior artwork sound sold out quickly. Reissued in 1999 with better art, cleaner audio and bonus tracks as 'Beyond the Beyond plus..', it's still difficult to understand how any label could have turned their back on such a creative and confident set of songs. Unlike the first album which is too often and at times negatively compared to Cressida, Spring and The Moody Blues, Fantasy show a maturity here which could have put them on an level footing with Genesis and Yes. Guitar is far more prominent anchored by plenty of keyboards and the much loved Mellotron. 'Alanderie' and especially the complex and gorgeous 'Afterthought' show a band that understood what it meant to be 'progressive' in the early 70's. The bonus tracks 'Fire-Fire', 'Vacuum' and 'Alone' show a heavier and darker side of Fantasy more akin to Uriah Heep or Czar while the original versions of 'Afterthought' and 'Church Clock' are superb and in no way redundant.

In Summary
Truly an excellent release and a must have for any fan of English progressive rock, Audio Archives unleashed another Fantasy CD 'Vivariatum' in 1994 which includes the bonus tracks from 'Beyond The Beyond plus..', early material from 1970 and apparently a cut or two from a badly timed 1976 reunion. It's now long out of print but 'Paint A Picture' has been reissued on numerous occasions and 'Beyond The Beyond Plus..' is still easy to find from all good progressive rock vendors.

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#1 | gdazegod on July 05 2010 02:58:23
That LP 'Paint A Picture' seems like an interesting album. Looks like I have to track that one down. Interesting to see Geoff Whitehorn (Crawler, Procol Harum) playing on this. I really like his guitar style. Thanks for the lead Eric.
#2 | gdazegod on July 06 2010 15:52:00
Been listening to this, plus 'Paint A Picture' the last few days. Very nice. Also getting into old Barclay James Harvest plus Maestoso, which is an offshoot band of BJH.
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