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Magic Bus - Transmission from Sogmore's Garden CD (album) cover


Magic Bus


Canterbury Scene

3.81 | 76 ratings

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4 stars I stumbled upon this release by sheer accident (a review on the home page) and it's one of those rare occasions, when an album grabbed me from the get-go. I cannot stress this enough: this is a record that no fan of Caravan Mk1 can afford to miss. Now, I love my Caravan, however, I've always regretted that they never tried to recapture the stunning beauty and timelessness of the Grey and Pink sound. That 1971 album is for me the pinnacle of the prog genre and to be fair it would probably be impossible for the band themselves to achieve that unique atmosphere once again, even if Dave S. hadn't left (as can be witnessed on Back to Front , that last LP - which I love and feel is unjustly forgotten btw - by the original lineup) . Must have been one of those right place-right time things (plus a fair deal of punkweed fumes in the air).

Well, with this album my dream has been fulfilled, as Magic Bus recreates that folk-pop-prog sound of the third Caravan LP perfectly. The singer sounds remarkably like Richard Sinclair, the organist plays with the "Dave Sinclair 1971 Sound" dial turned to 11, and there's a fair deal of Jimmy Hasings-like flute parts (and also some Khan-like parts - man, these guys really know what's best in Canterbury). Pure bliss! And while Magic Bus' songwriting skills don't quite reach the dizzy heights of their heroes', there are no duds here and each track offers something memorable. I just wish some of them would go on for a bit longer. It seems as if they were afraid of extended instrumental jams (give me more of that delicious organ sound please!), or maybe it's just symptomatic of the album quality, when you feel that almost every song is over too soon.

Now to the score. Reading what I wrote above I feel like I'm doing injustice to the band. I mean, they do show some originality and the overall vibe, while surely an intentional recreation of that familiar Caravan sound, is much more pastoral than that of our favourite Canterbury combo (and the guitar is much more prominent). Don't get me wrong it's a great album in its own right, but I feel that those of you who are into Caravan will find the most to enjoy here, so up the rating to 4.5 stars, if like me you've always longed for Grey and Pink Part 2. Anyway this is 2015 and in these post-post-modern times, hypertextuality is the order of the day. So let us embrace this Canterbury sound of the 21st century.

Hailemon | 4/5 |


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