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Carmen - Fandangos In Space CD (album) cover

FANDANGOS IN SPACE

Carmen

 

Prog Folk

3.81 | 71 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
5 stars Olé!

Most of the albums I have reviewed since I joined Prog Archives have been albums that I have had for a long time. This album, however, is a relatively recent find for me (and do I need to add that I never would have heard of it if it wasn't for Prog Archives?) I have now been listening to this album quite a lot for about six months and it is now safe to say that this is a masterpiece of progressive music. This is truly unique and brilliant music! It is quite different and I must admit that I wasn't fully convinced on the first couple of listens. But there was something that made me come back and hear it again and again. And now I cannot listen to the first track without listening to the whole album. It's strongly addictive!

The music can be described as progressive Hard Rock with many influences from Flamenco music and very strong melodies! This album is filled with good musical ideas, great harmony vocals (often reminding of Queen), a perfect mix of acoustic and electric guitars with occasional synthesizers and a discrete Mellotron in the background. Several songs also have those typical Flamenco hand claps and Spanish castanets. Unique and brilliant!

All the instruments are very well played and the guitars, bass and drums are all elaborated and compete with each other for attention. It is never the case that there is just a simple rhythm section over which a leading instrument can carry the music forward. All instruments carry the music forward all the time, which makes for a loaded and constantly interesting sound. The music is totally restless! This might be a bit tiresome for an untrained ear, but after just a couple of listens new layers reveal themselves.

The bass guitar is played by Jethro Tull member John Glascock. And there are a few similarities with Jethro Tull's music.

What I like most about Fandangos In Space is that there is an enormous sense of urgency in the whole album and not one second is wasted on filler and there are absolutely no weak moments. Every musical idea is exploited only to its full potential and then they immediately move on to the next one - they have so many! Some musical themes are featured in several tracks, making the whole greater than the sum of the parts. The whole album is really one long piece of excellent music where every track flows perfectly into the next one.

If I must choose a favourite moment I would pick Looking Outside My Window, which repeats the Bulerias theme but soon transforming into something brand new. Then a couple of minutes into Looking Outside My Window, there is again an acoustic part which could be Poor Tarantos part 2. This is a brilliant arrangement! The Bulerias theme returns again in the title track. And the Retirando theme also appears in more than one track towards the end.

The lyrics are predominantly in English but some lyrics are in Spanish. The lyrical themes of the album are also Spanish in that they sing about bull fights and 'lonely houses on hills in Madrid' (but the band is American/British and not Spanish, probably they have never even been to Madrid because there are hardly any lonely houses in such a major city, are there?). But it really doesn't matter where they come from or where they are going (into space?), it is just an image and slightly silly perhaps, but it really works!

The album features predominantly male vocals, but occasional female vocals are heard as well. In Looking Outside My Window the female vocals remind slightly of Babe Ruth (who also had some Hispanic influences in their music, but Carmen is extremely much better). Naming any favourite tracks from the album would be futile since I would end up listing all of them! This is a very consistent album that is great from start to finish. It closes with a beautiful acoustic outro.

The CD version I have is in total 45 minutes and 54 seconds and is part of a two-in-one 2CD package with the band's second album Dancing On A Cold Wind. The one listed above is only 37 minutes and 51 seconds! I haven't heard the short version, but I strongly suggest you get the long version in the 2CD set.

Fandangos In Space is a masterpiece of progressive rock and extremely recommended!

SouthSideoftheSky | 5/5 |

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