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Caravan - Caravan CD (album) cover




Canterbury Scene

3.70 | 614 ratings

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3 stars Where but for Caravan...

This album is, to my mind, very similar in many ways to the first Genesis album. Like that album, it is rooted in a 1960s lower-fi sound, with shorter arrangements and a more poppy orientation. Also, like that album, it is clear both that the main songwriters are hugely talented, but also that they have not yet lived up to their promise. And same for the singing (Pye Hastings sounds pretty well the same on this one, but Richard Sinclair's signature sound is few and far between). But there are some key hints at what would come. The highlight of this album, and the only track that might compare with those on their follow-up second album ('If I could do it all over again...'), is the nine-minute multi-part closing tune "Where But for Caravan Would I?". This is a real showstopper, and makes the listener wish the rest of the album had been so adventurous and musical. The other tunes hold back though. The best of the rest are probably the first four (particularly "A Place of My Own" and "Love Song with Flute"). Of course, this album has important historical gravitas, being one of the first (along with the first Soft Machine album) to lay out what would become known as the Canterbury sound, and indeed, the traits are already established here (higher-pitch singing, jazzy arrangements in syncopated 6/8 time, fuzzy organ solos), albeit in much more muted ways that evidenced on the first Soft Machine album. But generally this is not the Caravan album one will be putting on all the time. The last track merely makes one want to reach for the follow-ups. I given this album 6.5 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which translates to 3 PA stars.

Walkscore | 3/5 |


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