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Caravan - In the Land of Grey and Pink CD (album) cover




Canterbury Scene

4.31 | 1935 ratings

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5 stars 'In the Land of Grey and Pink' is a very charming album indeed. It forms the second of Caravan's mighty twin peaks, which both deserve equal respect in the prog world. I can never decide if I prefer the pink or green one.....

'Golf Girl' sets the tone of side one nicely; which consists of four dosings of cool, groovy psych-pop, with plenty of light-heartedness (not exactly humour, but less seriousness than your average prog group) and enough melodies to carry it. Pye's 'Love to Love You' is borderline annoying, but 'Winter Wine' has some improvisational development which counter-balances this. However I think that perhaps the title track would be less significant if it wasn't "the title track", because its similarities to 'Golf Girl' make it not really needed. Caravan have a nice, almost soothing sound, but are importantly a band that I can groove to. The chord choices are often interesting (in a good way) and this helps balance the relaxed feel. But I don't believe any number of complex syncopated interludes are even needed here, the soloing is high-quality and the lyrics are refreshingly listenable; i.e. not neglected by the band for their unimportance.

'Nine Feet Underground' can be second-guessed by its length. Any experienced progger will know that a side-long epic by a band of this style will be less of the "epic" quality and more, say, a series of connected jams and psychedelic noodles. I wasn't surprised when I discovered the 'Nine Feet...' was exactly that. Now some people on this site have criticised that fact, but I only pity them for even expecting some kind of "Close to the Edge 2". This is the Canterbury scene, and I doubt anyone has ever represented it better in a single 22 minutes and 40 seconds.

The sections that have lyrics are nice, like side 1, but the bulk of the track is instrumental jamming, and it's fantastic. The cool chord progressions are easy to get a hold of, and while some outstay their welcome, for the most part they're groovy and tasty throughout. This is the kind of stuff I like to jam with on my piano. The finale '100% Proof' (which by the way, has only a passing similarity to Cream's 'Sunshine of Your Love' and is neither plagiarism nor homage) brings the various parts to an explosive conclusion with it's electric blues riff, being probably the part of the album where the band rock out the most. By the end, it leaves one both satisfied and fatigued.

So this is Caravan as you'd expect them, but on some kind of high. It's trippy, colourful, and great fun. Not to mention very charming.

thehallway | 5/5 |


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