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Caravan - For Girls Who Grow Plump In The Night CD (album) cover




Canterbury Scene

4.16 | 684 ratings

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The Ace Face
4 stars A slight return to form after Waterloo Lily, with David Sinclair rejoining, and a new bassist, John Perry. The newer member is Geoffery Richardson, viola and flute player, who adds a lot to Caravan's slightly new sound. The major difference between this album and their other great album, in the Land of Grey and Pink, is that Pye's guitar is more in the front spotlight, and he shows he is not untalented.

Memory Lain, Hugh/Headloss: Starting with an acrobatic riff from Pye, this song is a classic opener with many different sections. When the bass jumps in, its a big sound, unlike anything Richard Sinclair ever did. The viola comes in with Pye's voice, playing the same melody. Here, Coughlan gets to show us what he's capable of. Soon the flute comes in with a cool riff, and the guitar underlies it, harmonizing. this sets the stage for the organ solo. Sinclair brings us back to the land of Grey and Pink with his tone, but unlike that album, this organ sound does not dominate the album. The viola leads us into this solo with a mini solo of its own. Then it slows down into a softer section with the flute taking the lead. Now a brass/wind section comes in courtesy of Jimmy Hastings. Coughlan gets to show off a little, and the mood is darker. the songs seems to be ending as the drums go wild and the flute soars skyward, but then Pye brings us back with an upbeat little riff. I suppose this is the Headloss section. The wind section is underlying the vocal melody carried by Pye and someone else singing backup, and the mood is very upbeat and positive. soon a viola solo comes in, and it jumps around all over the place. this song keeps you busy, and thats a very good thing. The outro has another viola solo and lots of showy drumming.

Hoedown: This song starts off with another good riff from Pye in 7/4. However, this song isn't all that good. its folk influenced, but its just a little simple, much like Love to Love You, from Grey and Pink. The drums are nice, however, with lots of bongos and creative cymbal use. The viola manages to save the song by coming with a great solo.

Surprise, Surprise: A bit of a ballad, with acoustic guitar and viola introducing us to Pye's voice. The bass, when it comes in, is superb, just the right volume and a great bass line. The chorus has some great vocal harmonies and powerful drumming from Coughlan, and the lyrics are very optimistic. after the second chorus, there is another fantastic viola solo. the lyrics are also very nostalgic and seem to reference love a lot.

C'thlu thlu: This song could not contrast more with the previous 3 upbeat tunes. The dark, march-like riff is somewhere Caravan has never explored before. The riff is accompanied by Pye singing mysteriously along with some strange spacey keyboard sounds in the distance. However, the chorus is very bouncy and lighter, funkier. then it goes back to the verse and slows down again. the lyrics for this song are all a little scary, even in the chorus, telling about running away from something, which is described in the verses. this thing appears to be evil and dark. the second chorus ends with some angular riffing by Pye. Then we get introduced to a new riff, just as dark as the previous one. The drums pound along with it, leading us into an organ solo from Sinclair. again, he takes the Canterbury tone, but its not in a light mood now. the dark riff below it belies the urgency of the solo. After the solo, we get taken back into the chorus without words, but with some sax instead. The outro is a repetition of the verse riff very slowly and deliberately.

The Dog, the Dog, hes at it again: According to Pye, this song was written as an Ode to a Blowjob. the goofy lyrics and light chord changes are a step away from the previous song. The viola gets some good riffs in, and the words come at you so fast you cannot hear them properly. The synthesizer solo in the middle is awesome, something Caravan had never used up until then. the clapping in the background is cool and creative. the solo gets really weird at the end, and the viola reintroduces us to the vocal part. the synth underlies the repetition of the chorus and mini end chorus overlaying one another. Usually, Caravan is not known for good vocal arrangements, but this song is an exception. they seem to be as complex as Gentle Giant's craziest arrangements, and thats not a compliment to be taken lightly.

Be Alright/Chance of a Lifetime: An interesting riff introduces us to another slightly heavy song. At the one minute mark, a guitar solo enters and blows us away! Pye Hastings can solo? Wow! Granted hes no David Gilmour, he can certainly bust out a good solo, which he never used to do. After a couple verses and choruses, the acoustic guitar leads into the next section, while the bongos just jam away and the viola solos behind Pye's voice. Much more relaxed than the previous section. Again, gorgeous backing vocal harmonies, which is rare in Caravan. The guitar turns electric again, but only to accentuate the upcoming viola solo. Wow, Geoff Richardson only in the band for one album so far, and he gets almost as many solos as there are songs. He is quite talented. As the solo crescendos, the bass climbs the strings in the background. the lyrics in this part hark back to the Land of Grey and Pink again, with their mystical quality and the tone. It makes me think of Winter Wine.

A Hunting We Shall Go: A gorgeous, masterful epic with lots of orchestra backing and wide use of acoustic guitar and viola to set the sad mood. Perry even appears to be playing an acoustic bass, but I'm not sure. A big explosion leads us into the main section, with organ and distorted viola taking the lead, and electric guitar jumping in when appropriate. There is another great electric guitar solo about 2.5 minutes in, followed by a viola solo. all of this is underlaid by one main riff seemingly in 5/4, but it could be something else. Soon this section ends with a dreamy chord. then the piano takes the lead, giving us a slightly sadder mood. the orchestra can be heard in the background, strings especially, and there is a clarinet solo, followed by a synthesizer solo from Sinclair. these solos are both very restrained and slowly crescendoing. the orchestra starts to come to the foreground, with the brass being heard now. The strings and brass take two different leads now, with the bass guitar starting to really go crazy along with the drums. the synth comes in again and uses a lot of octave jumping to its advantage. then it starts to jump into the 5/4 riff from before, but is aburptly cut off by an explosion, ending the album.

Overall, a very good album, on par with Grey and Pink in a whole different way. Grey and Pink was an album that took you places. This album just makes you happy when you listen to it. its not perfect, with Hoedown and Surprise Surprise being slightly sub-par, but overall, the album is classic Caravan. On the bonus tracks, Derek's Long thing is work taking a look at, much like A Hunting with no orchestra and lots of piano and hammond organ. Derek was their keyboardist between Steve Miller and David Sinclair, and he was no slouch either.

The Ace Face | 4/5 |


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