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Cheeto's Magazine - Boiling Fowls CD (album) cover

BOILING FOWLS

Cheeto's Magazine

 

Crossover Prog

3.93 | 84 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

siLLy puPPy
4 stars Oh my prog! Wassup with band names these days? When i see the moniker of the Spanish band CHEETO'S MAGAZINE from the greater Barcelona area (El Prat de Llobregat to be exact), i can't help but think of the artificially flavored junk food snack that used to have that cheesy cheetah hocking the "cheese that goes crunch!" There were the soft fluffy Cheetos as well but personally i never cared for those. Anyway, this crazy title along with a cute cartoon image of a chicken in a pot of water on the album cover really stood out amongst the heavily crowded halls of modern prog. I mean if a band can name itself CHEETO'S MAGAZINE, can we soon expect a Dorito's Diary? A Frito's Fannypack? A Ruffle's Razorblade or even a Pringle's Pantyhose? I dunno and i digress before i even begin this review. I'm such an American having eaten all this crap in my youth and i have no idea if they even sell this garbage in Spain! But despite the funky band name, this is some seriously splendiferous prog behind the super silly packaging!

The origins of CHEETO'S MAGAZINE (and i have no idea where the name came from) dates back to the summer of 2005 when founders Esteban Navarro (lead vocals, keyboards) and Manel Orella (guitars) set out to do some comedy shows with some music added for good measure but the whole project got expanded with the inclusion of Dídac García (bass) and Joan Montané (drums) which turned into a band that steered the quartet into the realms of prog rock. Having a little performance history under their belt the band spent some time conjuring up some proggy music mojo and performed the first gig in 2007 and was a smashing hit as the band had already hit upon its own quirky delivery system mostly thanks to Esteban's eccentric silly demeanor that found the band adding all the humor and childish antics to their unique style of symphonic prog. Zappa and Canterbury stalwarts would approve! (clappy hand icon)

By 2009 the band had recorded some of the best songs and released their first EP titled "All The Chickens In The Bowl" which would be performed for a few more years and ultimately led to this debut full-length release BOILING FOWLS in 2014. Somewhere along the line drummer Montané was replaced by Rafa Weber and Matias Lizana joined the cast as primary keyboardist. While the band debuted as a quintet, BOILING FOWLS also features a few guest vocalists as well as a couple sax performances by Sergi Felipe (on "Nova America" and "Naughty Boy.") The final product presents a shiny exuberant production job based in a modern version of symphonic prog that takes a few cues from bands like Spock's Beard and other Neil Morse led band's like Transatlantic as well as the dreamy lengthy prog workouts found in other bands like Echolyn or the Flower Kings. BOILING FOWLS delivers a lengthy series of prog workouts and clocks in at over 64 minutes which is usually a red flag for, yeah you guessed it - FILLER! But not the case with these Spaniards. This is an amazing display of twists and turns that keep me enthralled for the entirety.

The opening track "Nova America" alone takes up almost 26 minutes of sonic real estate but showcases the band's ability to weave tight knit melodies with schizoid freak outs, choppy time signature rich instrumental gymnastics and best of all delivered with a quirky sense of humor. Belying their geographical origins, CHEETO'S MAGAZINE gives no indication that they emerge from one of the Latinate language speaking regions of Europe and rather sound like they originate from some Anglo-dominant sector of the world. Within the album's nine tracks you can hear not only the modern sounds of symphonic prog but also find some Beatles inspired melodies and harmonies, Gentle Giant prog quirkiness, Kansas symphonic prowess as well as the Zappa fueled silliness not to mention interesting segments of Eno inspired electronica as well as heavy guitar riffing that borders on the neo-prog sounds of bands like IQ or Arena. The album comes off as quite ambitious and obviously a labor of love and not one forced upon the team at hand because all is displayed in a graceful manner with the passion shining through every cadence.

CHEETO'S MAGAZINE scores on their debut BOILING FOWLS which finds inspiration in the entire history of the melodic side of prog and pulls it off with a stylistic flair all their own. Perhaps the only weak track is the closing "Driver French" which sounds eschews the prog scene altogether and opts for a danceable electro-pop style which is found in small doses throughout the album but integrated quite fashionably whereas the ending track goes nowhere else. While not quite the perfect masterpiece of prog, CHEETO'S MAGAZINE found a unique way to forge their visionary style into the prog world without the all too often derivative confinements that don't allow the experimental touches to shine. Many newer symphonic prog bands suffer from this phenomena but BOILING FOWLS just comes off as taking an unexpected journey down a road of prog that i didn't know existed and once on it, i can't help but get lost as the non-linear stroll pleasantly twists and turns into unexpected and unforeseen scenery that wasn't in the tourist's brochures.

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |

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