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Caravan - Caravan CD (album) cover




Canterbury Scene

3.68 | 477 ratings

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Prog Metal and Heavy Prog Teams
3 stars Naive, mature or both?

This debut self-titled album of Caravan is my second experience with the band, after the widely-acclaimed ''In the Land of Grey and Pink'' (considered to be their masterpiece). Someone who has heard the latter, and bearing in mind that this is the debut, would have possibly expected a not so mature album - this is only partly true.

Released in 1968, Caravan's debut is strongly influenced by the 60's psychedelia sounds and the ''flower-power'' movement (but only to an extent). The hammond-like sounds are dominant and the percussion reflects a feeling of freedom. However, with a strong touch of melancholy, obscurity and well-structured melodies, Caravan leave their own personal stigma in the late 60's that differentiates them from most of the bands at the time. Along with psychedelia and strong rock influences, the level of complexity is relatively high for its time.

The album generally flows in slow-tempos, without diverting from this path in only but very few exceptions (i.e. Cecil Rons, Grandma's Lawn) where mid-tempos are more likely. Examples of their ''musical maturity'' can be found in tracks like Live Song with Flute (impressive use of flute!) and Magic Man where the exceptional vocal melodies remind of URIAH HEEP's later releases. The term ''naive'' might be a bit too harsh to describe some of the musical approaches in this effort, but may apply to tracks like Policeman (although it might just be an intentional ''ironic'' reference).

Special mention should be credited to the opening and closing tracks with the former being the most lively and energetic one with lots of guitar and keyboard work supporting it. Probably the most impressive and most diverse song in the album is the closing Where but for Caravan Would I? - which is also the longest track and Caravan's first long composition. Multiple variations in mood, speed and structure comprise this ultimately progressive track. Percussion and basswork are the strongest points in this impressive composition which starts off at a slow melodic mood and evolves to a highly creative musical piece.

Overall, a pleasant and very promising debut from Caravan which at that time would have created lots of expectations to their fans. Being simultaneously naive and mature (at least to my ears), this would definitely be an interesting addition to your collection, especially if you are a fan of the genre.

aapatsos | 3/5 |


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