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Leprechaun - Leprechaun CD (album) cover

LEPRECHAUN

Leprechaun

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.88 | 6 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Leprechaun is the name of the new jazz-rock wonder from Chile: the eponymous debut album has to be one of the freshest musical items to come out of South America in 2008, in the area of prog-friendly jazz-rock. Not unlike other Latin American fellow bands such as Prisma-X, Opus 3 or Tˇrax, Leprechaun's style is based on the modern approach to jazz-rock and heavy prog delivered by CAB, Planet-X and LTE, fused with the 70s tradition stated by Return to Forever and Brand-X, with deep touches of Satriani and Holdsworth. In the case of Leprechaun, the sound is a tad less hard generally speaking, so the Satriani and Holdsworth elements will appear more featured than the Planet-X trend: nevertheless, power and drive and two of the main qualities that make (or should make) the "Leprechaun" album so appealing to the average prog-jazz fan. The number of occasions in which the guitar and the synth double on the leads is very abundant: clearly, this band isn't willing to let the general level of compositional creativity get out of control, there is really an efficient exercise of control in the tracks' deliveries (only a couple of them move past the 4'30" mark). Getting started with the funk-instilled jazzy bombast of 'Analorock' and 'El Lid', both pieces state the stamina-driven facet of the band, with the latter bringing in some typically progressive sophistication to the overall dynamics. 'Fantasmagoria' starts with very soft musical box sounds, but it doesn't take long before the track's main body emerges with its grayish moods that candidly emulate the Gothic ambience of horror b-movies: the Page-meets-Holdsworth guitar phrases fit the precise scheme built by the rhythm duo, while the synths play powerful layers and amazing solos in places. 'Destellos' brings the band's softer side for the first time: a mid tempo for an evocative melodic scheme, this piece sets a mixture of Brand-X and Satriani that develops a slow mood without getting really languid. But 'Despertar' does get languid, with its lyrical approach to romantic moods: the 3/4 tempo is displayed with controlled looseness by the rhythm duo, while Santander states a set of Morse-meets-Latimer guitar leads all over the place. These two tracks represent a moment of beautiful rest, before 'Encuentro Inesperado' brings back some of the groove that had been displayed on the first two tracks: the final result is not as powerful, but there is a slightly more elaborated structure (prog-style), which lays out an interesting air of sophistication. 'Leprefunk' generally fits the previous description: this piece preserves the complex funk-rock scheme masterfully crafted in the preceding track, albeit emphasizing the jazz factor more meticulously, which really helps to enhance the basic jamming motif. '2 Rutas' really does equal the power and dynamics of tracks 1 & 2, and 'Laberintos' almost does the same thing: I wish both tracks had been longer, since their catchiness deserved a bit more of exploration and expansion. Anyway, the album has come to an end sometime, and that's when 'Cicatrices' appears - a soft ballad based on the acoustic guitar's melodic progressions. Well, this isn't exactly the real end. After the 3 minute ballad ends, comes 1+ minute of silence after which a brief blues-rock jam (a hidden track, I suppose) emerges to close the album's door. An excellent album by a talented band, "Leprechaun" is an item destined to be properly appreciated by all jazz-prog fans.
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |

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