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Carmen - Fandangos In Space CD (album) cover

FANDANGOS IN SPACE

Carmen

 

Prog Folk

3.81 | 66 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

kenethlevine
Special Collaborator
Prog-Folk Team
3 stars If originality was everything in progressive rock or in music in general, CARMEN would crush the competition, as they really did define an Anglo American/British flamenco style hitherto and since largely unexplored, although I do wonder if BABE RUTH might have been Carmen fans. The familial angle covered by the Allen siblings is evident in the tightness of the vocal harmonies and arrangements, and the almost jerky yet confoundingly well synchronized vocal and guitar juxtapositions. John Glascock's bass provides a tenuous link to Jethro Tull, who were also to the folk side of prog, but whether his style can be recognized or not does not change his impressive work here and that of his rhythm counterpart Paul Fenton.

Part of my relative enjoyment of Carmen may stem from my inability to understand the over the top kitschiness of their material, or even divine a guess as to their level of "seriousness". This allows me to revel in the pan-cultural "Bulerias" and "Bullfight", as well as the compact "Stepping Stone" which gets full marks for inventiveness in a short time frame, while the Flamenco prowess of David Allen in "Por Torrantos" is another highlight. But repetitiveness of lyrical material can be problematic if the song is not particularly memorable, which is the case in "Sailor Song" and "Lonely House", even if the wordless vocal section of the latter is appealing. But "Retirando" is a better example of this technique and throws in a mellotronic massage for good measure.

"Looking Outside my Window", the longest track, is comprised of a collage of different song and instrumental fragments, deliberately juxtaposed in a seemingly haphazard way, which gives it a certain ragged charm. Still, any formula used will generally be overused at some point, which is the case here and there throughout this disk, and keeps me from considering "Fandangos in Space" to be an essential release at large, although people with a penchant for the flamenco mixed with hard rock and a sprinkling of psych may well turn cartwheels cross the floor over it.

kenethlevine | 3/5 |

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