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Caravan - In The Land Of Grey And Pink CD (album) cover

IN THE LAND OF GREY AND PINK

Caravan

 

Canterbury Scene

4.27 | 1179 ratings

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friso
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Caravan - In the Land of Grey and Pink (1971)

Caravan is a Canterbury group originating from the Wilde Flowers, just as the Soft Machine did. As Soft Machine has proven to be a very progressive and innovative force, it strikes me as strange that Caravan became a crossover-prog group. The poppy influences are all over the place and the music is never hard-to-get-into. Besides pop, rock and some prog influences, there are also some jazz influences.

The vocals of Richard Sinclair (later to join Camel) are polished and very English. The organs of his brothers David Sinclair are gentle and slightly destorted during solo's (he's the only musician to give solo's on this album). The guitars are acoustic most of the time. The wind- instruments by Jimmy Hastings are nice, but very happy in style.

Kahn, Gong and Soft Machine all had their dark moments, but Caravan sticks to a happy feel- good sound most of the time. The atmosphere is slightly psychedelic, but in a happy fashion.

On side one we've got four songs. Golf Girl is a pop-song with good song-writing and nice lyrics about a surrealistic situation. Winter Wine is a stronger effort with great melodic compositions and good melodies. This could be considered to be then only track with real progressive influences on side one. Love to love you is a very commercial affair that only has a strange time-signature to safe the day. This song is as sweet as children's candy. In the land of grey and pink is another happy and melodic song. The songwriting is again strong, albeit not very progressive.

On side two there is Caravan's big epic, Nine feet underground. Luckily the band changes direction on side two by playing more melodic, instrumental and rockin' sections. The vocal parts are all strong and I finally get 'touched' by the music. The impact of the band is totally different and way more serious. The organ-solo's are plentyfull but I really wished they would have hired a guitar-player to give an extended solo instead. A good, but never ground-braking effort.

Conclusion. It amazes me how this album is rated as high as works as Space Shanty, Third or You. This album fails in many aspects to be really progressive or innovative and the vision of Caravan is everything but brave. At times it reminds me of 'Breatless'-era Camel. Yet, on side two the band changes directions for the better and an enjoyable, interesting and relaxing atmosphere is created. I can not reward this crossover record with more then three stars, but it is still recommend! This is the poppy-side of the Canterbury scene, but the style is still quite special with it's happy, slightly psychedelic sound.

friso | 3/5 |

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