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Caravan - Waterloo Lily CD (album) cover

WATERLOO LILY

Caravan

 

Canterbury Scene

3.76 | 373 ratings

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TheCaptain
3 stars While the music of Caravan doesn't have the best track record of pleasing me on a purely emotional level, I have to admit they are extremely clever.

The title track "Waterloo Lily" is an example of some great song-writing. There are two catchy verses of singing in the first minute then the chorus leaves a bit to be desired. Luckily the song is done with singing until the final minute. After the chorus is done there are two parts of instrumental music. The first takes us to the halfway point in the song and this is the first time I give Caravan a pat on the back. If you listen to any 5-second clip from the first instrumental then are transported to any random part in the first instrumental, you will undoubtedly be able to say that you are listening to "Waterloo Lily." By itself that is probably the most basic thing any song is meant to do. However, add the fact that the music never repeats itself. It's in a constant dance around the main "Waterloo Lily" theme and it never takes the same step twice. I'm really blown away by this and I can't think of any other song that does something like this. The second part of the instrumental also forces me to congratulate Caravan. It starts off slow and quiet and is only identifiable as music. Then the music picks and narrows to the Canterbury genre, then narrows down further to Caravan and finally narrows down to "Waterloo Lily." This leads us right into a verse followed by a chorus to end the song. 8/10

Next, if I have but one song to congratulate Caravan on, it would be this one. "Nothing at All" is an instrumental and I will issue a *SPOILER ALERT* for upcoming cleverness that actually made me smile. This starts off with a lovely bass line that is our guide in this jazzy improv-sounding instrumental. "Nothing at All" is probably something along the lines of what you would expect if you were told "Canterbury-styled improv." Somewhere around 4:00-4:30 the music started to sound like it was leaving its world of improve and was heading in a direction. The next 30 seconds sounded like the music kept on getting distracted from its goal. At this point I checked the song info and saw "Nothing at All" was broken into movements. The first being "Nothing at All," an apt description of what just happened, and I was then listening to "It's Coming Soon," which at that moment was nothing more than a nice, soft jazzy piano piece. I then saw what the final movement was. "Nothing at All (Reprise)." I smiled thinking "Oh Caravan. Your song title is so tongue-in-cheek. You aren't going to deliver the ending that was glimpsed at the end of the first movement. I'm just going to listen to 'nothing at all' at the end." However I was misled again. With 3:15 left to go in the song, the music took a radical departure from the previous movement (which had evolved to a less jazzy piano-centric piece with some bass and light percussion peppered in) and even the first movement. It would seem as though I would get the ending I had been longing for and had often changed my mind on whether it was coming or not. Anyway, "Nothing at All (Reprise)" finishes out the song without really sounding like the first part of the entire instrumental (at least until the final minute rolls around). So anyway this song is a lot of fun. 9/10 for getting me to fall into their trap many times.

"Songs and Signs" starts out as a light-hearted mellow song. It shares some similarities with "Waterloo Lily" because the singing only happens during the first and last bit of the song (in this case about 40 seconds on each end). The instrumental bridge ups the level of complexity a bit while still maintaining a playful tone. While this may be the most complex of the 3-4 minute songs on this album it's easily the weakest track on the album. 5/10

"Aristocracy" keeps the same light-heartedness as the previous song but at a faster tempo. If I had to pick one word to describe this song it would be 'bouncy.' I feel like this could have been a hit on the radio sometime during the '60s because the Canterbury sound often blurs with the psychedelic music from that time. Not a whole lot goes on here but it's still pleasant to listen to. 6/10

"The Love in Your Eye" is the longest, most varied and adventurous song on Waterloo Lily. With all members taking their turns in the spotlight with at least one solo per band member (flute included!), this song undoubtedly fits the description of prog. There are strings, trumpets and other instruments gracing this mini-epic which takes a Canterbury approach to the popular symphonic prog style. If I had to convince someone to buy Waterloo Lily with just one song, "The Love in Your Eye" would be my ace in the hole. 9/10

"The World is Yours" rounds out this album on a good note. In mood, tone, and simplicity it's quite similar to "Aristocracy." Maybe not the greatest way to praise a prog song, but it's easily my second favorite on the album. However, as this is a review for a prog album I feel like it would be immoral to objectively rate this high. 6/10

I don't like to be on the border between star-ratings but this album had me sitting on the fence for quite some time. Three songs on here are quite poppy with few prog characteristics. They're all good pop songs and one is even an excellent pop song. But these only make up 10 minutes of music while there are three great prog offerings that make up half an hour of music. The words that accompany the 3 star rating are "Good, but non-essential." That "non-essential" prevents me from giving it 4 stars, but this is probably the strongest 3 I could possibly award anything.

TheCaptain | 3/5 |

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