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Carmen - The Gypsies  CD (album) cover

THE GYPSIES

Carmen

 

Prog Folk

3.25 | 32 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
3 stars Gypsies in space

This is Carmen's third - and sadly also their last ever - album. The Gypsies is a bit different compared to the first two Carmen albums, but it is still a very good album. The songs are generally of shorter length and each song stands on its own this time; the songs don't share any common themes or flow into each other like on previous albums. But make no mistake, this is still the unique, elaborated, very tasteful Flamenco infused Hard Rock we would expect from Carmen and there are still many sparkling acoustic passages, excellent Queen-like harmony vocals, gorgeous melodies and pleasant keyboards. However, The Gypsies is a bit less progressive and somewhat closer to Hard Rock compared to the previous albums. But it is an interesting, elaborated and eclectic Hard Rock! This album represents, in my view, a realistic 'progression' from where the band started a few years earlier, but it remains far behind the masterpiece that was Fandangos In Space.

The album opens with Daybreak which begins with exquisite Flamenco style guitar that is suddenly interrupted by electric guitars and strong vocals. The song has Spanish castanets and great guitar work and it is a good opener but not the most interesting song of the album. Shady Lady is also a reasonably straightforward Hard Rock song with a strong chorus and excellent acoustic guitar breaks. High Tide features a gorgeous vocal melody, keyboards and some bluesy guitar licks. The keyboards are mainly synthesisers and piano and even if they are often discrete they add great effect to the music. Songs like High Tide and Dedicated To Lydia slows things down more than we are used to from Carmen and I must admit that the fantastic energy and strong intensity of Fandangos In Space is somewhat lost. But these are still very good songs that keep the album reasonably varied.

Carmen reminds me of some of my favourite bands; Queen, Jethro Tull, Rainbow and Gentle Giant, yet they have their very own unique style. The very Gentle Giant-like Joy is very nice! This song also slightly reminds me somewhat of Beggar's Opera.

The energy and intensity returns with a bang on the excellent title track, however, which is the highlight of the album for me. This great hard edged song surpasses anything from Dancing On A Cold wind and is almost up to par with the brilliant material on Fandangos In Space! The electric guitar work is superb here and the Carmen trademarks are strong in this song; castanets, footwork, male/female vocals, acoustic/electric guitar interplay, synthesisers etc. Too bad the rest of the album is not of such intense quality.

The last few songs of the album are not very strong with such sing-a-long songs like Come Back and rather straightforward rockers like Sirens Of The Sea. These numbers are bound to leave any Prog fan underwhelmed.

Even if The Gypsies is a very good album that I thoroughly enjoy, it is not consistently excellent and it is certainly not the best place to start if you want to investigate this great band. I strongly recommend starting with the band's first two albums and if you like those you will certainly find something to like here as well.

SouthSideoftheSky | 3/5 |

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