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Esperanto - Last Tango CD (album) cover

LAST TANGO

Esperanto

 

Eclectic Prog

3.93 | 53 ratings

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SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
3 stars An eclectic musical language

This band with British and Belgian origins released three albums in the first half of the 70's. I didn't know anything about them until recently, but was quickly impressed. The closest comparison I can make of the band's sound is to those of Curved Air and early Electric Light Orchestra mostly due to the strong presence of cello and violins but also due to the female vocals that sometimes remind strongly of Sonja Kristina, particularly on Painted Lady which could have come straight from a Curved Air album. The male vocals remind rather of Roger Chapman of Family. Other band that come to mind while listening to Esperanto's Last Tango are String Driven Thing, Beggar's Opera, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Gentle Giant and Carmen. But the band is really as eclectic as the language from which they have taken their name.

The album starts with a cover of The Beatles' Eleanor Rigby which is as wonderfully different from its original as Manfred Mann's Earth Band's several covers of Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen songs. For not having any guitars in the band, the band's sound is surprisingly aggressive. Whatever could be done with electric guitars is here done with cellos and violins to great effect. The bass guitar is Chris Squire-like and often functions as a lead instrument rather than merely as part of a rhythm section. In addition there are keyboards and drums.

Still Life continues with some very nice instrumental work outs with cello/violin, piano and great bass guitar. The more symphonic and piano/harpsichord dominated parts remind me of Renaissance, the bass guitar is a bit similar to that on Renaissance's Ashes Are Burning album. But despite the absence of guitars, Esperanto often has a harder and more aggressive sound.

The three shorter tracks are slightly more conventional but no less good. Painted Lady in particular is a great song that, as I have said already, remind of Curved Air. The closing title track is indeed a bit of a tango. And finally we have the 12 plus minute The Rape which is a strong number that represents the album very well.

Last Tango is an enjoyable and recommended listen.

SouthSideoftheSky | 3/5 |

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