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Redd - Cuentos del Subsuelo CD (album) cover

CUENTOS DEL SUBSUELO

Redd

 

Eclectic Prog

3.80 | 12 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Cuentos del Subsuelo" is Redd's sophomore effort. It took so many years before it was eventually released as a CD, when plans were intended for a 1980 release as a regular vinyl. Anyway, the pros and cons of independent efforts. Redd had already stated a clear musical path in their debut album "Tristes Noticias del Imperio", and "Cuentos del Susbuelo" pursues a similar dynamics and sound. Only this time the band has a permanent keyboardist on board and a stronger vocalist: the latter and the new drummer together replaced Juan Escalante, the founder member who left the band after the recording sessions of "Tristes Noticias". I said that the band's dynamics and sound remained the same, but definitely the sound is fuller and more robust, which is clearly due to the newcomer keyboardist: with him in the band, the guitar riffs and harmonic bases can bear a slightly louder fill (something important for the climatic and fast passages), and the band as a whole can elaborate a more orchestral vibe, which is good for the preservation of melancholic moods in the predominant slow songs and the enhancement of sonic elegance for the climaxes. In terms of writing and arranging issues, the band is more consciously engaged with melodic beauty than ever - this is, indeed, my favorite Redd album. The album's opener is 'Como la Esmeralda', a definitive Redd classic that states a solid, melancholic ambience, properly augmented by the bluesy guitar's lead phrases and the subtle keyboard deliveries, very much like Invisible-meets-romantic Camel. The emotion is given an extra dose of passion with 'El Padre de Ícaro', arguably the most amazing song that Redd has ever written. Revolving around Dedalus' infinite sadness for his son's foolish death, this song displays a series of haunting instrumental and vocal lines that frontally reflect a sense of despair drowned in a restless quietness. The final vocal lines delivered by Imhoff are the pure incarnation of sadness (even if the words relate the emotion in the third person), and the instrumental coda brings the final drama. Awesome! Things get heavier and lighter with the good spirited song 'Los Entretenimientos de Medianoche del Dr.Frankenstein' states an ironic tale of domination through science with a mixture of heavy prog and psychedelia, including some satiric soliloquy. The album's last two pieces keep on exploring the stylish melancholy of 'Como la Esmeralda' and take it to the most expressive level. 'El Asesino Sentimental' is a soft prog blues with a momentary hard rocking break, relying mostly on atmospheres and emotions - Imhoff's passionate vocals shine here with special brightness. And the same applies to 'Dedos Tristes', although this time the instrumentalists state a more aggressive approach - the strength is constrained, though, in order to keep the nuclear melancholy vivid and not turn it into anger. This song really captures the album's most recurrent mood, so it is only coherent that it should close it down. The 3 bonus tracks are taken from a live performance in the early 80s. The songs (2 from this same album and 1 from the debut) are given a bigger expansion in their live renditions: it's a pity that the sound quality is so lousy, since you can really suspect that the band's live stamina gave an extra intensity to the pieces. Well, all in all, "Cuentos del Subsuelo", by building up from the musical scheme developed in "Tristes Noticias", brought Redd's vision to its ultimate expression. An excellent album by a band that left good memories in the Argentina's rock scene.
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |

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