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Esperanto - Last Tango CD (album) cover

LAST TANGO

Esperanto

 

Eclectic Prog

3.91 | 50 ratings

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ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars Any time a rock band resorts to covering "Eleanor Rigby" you have to wonder if maybe their creative juices have become depleted. When a studio album opens with this cover, the traditional order for a record's strongest work, that suspicion is reinforced. In the case of Esperanto their third and final album has some decent music to offer, but even though this version of the song is one of the more energetic and ambitious that I've ever heard, the 'Last Tango' title for the most part aptly describes both the state of the band and their music. Aside from the in auspicious cover, the band managed barely 38 minutes of music for this record, nearly a third of which is taken up by the creepy, uncomfortable opera tome "The Rape".

Esperanto brought their career to a close with yet another frontman for the record, in this case the relatively unknown Roger Meakin replacing Keith Christmas who had departed in favor of a solo career. By this time the band's original vocalist Glenn Shorrock had already begun to emerge in what would prove to be a hugely commercial success fronting the sort- rock Aussie group Little River Band, while Esperanto themselves were on a fast track to obscurity.

An emerging disco industry wave seems to have influenced at least some of the band's music, most notably on "Still Life" which features a heavy bass line, jaunty piano and strident female vocals. "Painted Lady" is similar but with vocals and a rhythm that are both slightly awkward; and "Obsession" is a purely AOR number that finds the band offering little more than clever strings and a smooth bassline to back Moore's crooning vocals.

The centerpiece of the album is the twelve-minute mini rock opera "The Rape", whose title hearkens back to the band's second album 'Danse Macabre' and whose lyrics tell a predictably bleak tale revealed in the song's title. There are some great string movements interspersed throughout this song, but the overall effect comes off as ambitious but just slightly disappointing in the delivery.

As with the other Esperanto CD reissues this one has a couple of bonus tracks, and again as with the other two records these offer little to enhance the album's appeal and were clearly included as simple filler to give the longer recording capacity of the CD format a little more heft.

This was a band that probably should have been much more successful and well-known then they were. In reading the band's history it's clear that poor management and timing played role in their early demise, along with the expected challenges that come from trying to maintain and support such a large group of musicians on a touring rock-band's budget. Of the band's three albums this is neither their finest nor their worst, and overall it is a decent though not exceptional offering. That pretty much describes a three-star (out of five) record, which is what I'll give it, along with a mild recommendation especially for folks who find well-constructed string arrangements on pop music records appealing.

peace

ClemofNazareth | 3/5 |

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