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Serú Girán

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4 stars 4.4 stars

Initially panned by both the public and the press, Serú girán gradually won the Argentine people and became a historic album and the beginning of Serú Girán, the Argentine Beatles!

I would not blame them completely. Charly Garcia was their folk/pop hero from "Sui Generis" and hearing him play something so different from that might have disappointed many of the fans, until some were open-minded enough to let themselves warm up to the music and find it at least as enjoyable as Charly's first band.

So what does the band sound like? It sounds like Latin-rock with influences of the last album of "Sui Generis", a bit of the jazz-rock of "La Maquina de Hacer Pajaros", a bit of the jazz-rock of "Weather Report", Brazilian influences, classical elements, and has a big emphasis on melody and poetic lyrics (In my opinion, Seru Giran is one of the strongest bands in terms of melody, surpassing even the Beatles). Three of the musicians are capable vocalists and tend to harmonize their voices frequently. The fret less bass sounds very much like Jaco Pastorius and plays an even larger role to the music in parts as if it were a lead instrument. The drumming is impressive, you can't expect dull percussion from the rhythm man of "La Maquina." The keyboards are prominent throughout the album; Charly plays the grand piano, keyboards, and vintage synthesizers. The orchestra is present in some tracks, dominating in the title song. The guitar plays a somewhat small role here, which is not the case in the following albums.

The hugely popular Argentine Anthem "Eiti Leda" starts with an almost a capella introduction and minimal instrumentation. It turns into a fantastic rock song with most of the elements I described in the previous paragraph, and finishes with Charly dueling and harmonizing with an orchestra. Pedro Aznar (bass) especially shines and plays an excellent solo.

"El Mendigo en el Andén" mellow things a bit. It is a melodic tune with a memorable climax with high-register vocals and beautiful orchestral arrangements.

"Separata" is a short classical-tango hybrid with great vocals and keyboard arrangements.

"Autos, Jets, Aviones, Barcos" ... se está llendo todo el muuuuuuundo!! What a catchy and sing-along song while being far from a mainstream song. It has extremely accelerated tempos, frenzied fretless bass playing lead, irressistibly catchy vocals, tempo changes, and bass,guitar, and synth solos. Compositionally, it doesn't reach "Eiti Leda" but it's a lot of fun.

"Seru Giran" is a beautiful classical symphony with nonsensical lyrics. If you are into classical music with a bit of rock, this would most likely be a clear highlight here, even if the album is consistently strong. The arrangements and dynamics are brilliant and this is the most "progressive" song in the album.

Sure, "Seminaré" is as pop as it gets, but the melodies rival the best that the Beatles came up with. This might be the band's best-known song alongside "Eiti Leda" and "Viernes 3AM". The simple synth solo is so happy and melodic that it boosts my mood.

"Voy a Mil" is an prog rock track. It's very tight and features many changes in its 3 minutes.

"Cosmigodón" sounds like a musical Armageddon thanks to its doom-like atmosphere created by the keyboards and symphony, and the chaotic guitar riffery.

Overall, this is highly recommended to fans of Sui Generis and La Maquina de Hacer Pajaros. However, don't expect this to sound like those bands. I also recommend it to almost anyone who wants to explore some of the best music to ever come from Argentina.

Report this review (#136113)
Posted Monday, September 3, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars I listened to this songs when I was 12...

Welcome to PA, Serú!. Serú Girán was a band which mixed many influences: Charly García was formed at a classic school, with tango influences too; Pedro Aznar (a 18-year-old boy!!) studied Jazz (he's a follower of Jaco Pastorious style); David Lebón and Oscar Moro were rockers. This first album has got some things of the 70's, but it also has some of 80's. The band's name hasn't got any meaning. Words like "Serú Girán", "Eiti Leda", "Cosmigonon" and "Seminare" are words without meaning which were invented by Garcia.

"Eiti Leda" is a prog song. It isn't a complex composition but, the formal structure, the arrangement, the orchestration... turn it to a prog song. "El mendigo en el Andén" is a beatiful ballad, with an amazing arrangement!. "Separata" is a dramatic song; very emotional and short ballad, I really like it. "Autos, Jets, Aviones, Barcos" is a latin-influenced rock song; the bass work is incredible. "Serú Girán" is a reverent composition with orchestral sounds, many voices and a much more rocker part from the middle to the end. This song is more progressive than the others. "Seminare" is one of the most popular songs in Argentina. Each person know this song... It's a nice ballad. "Voy a mil": a piece of "prog-rock'n'roll"... also, it has an istrumental part more progressive. "Cosmigonon": a strong instrumental final, its sound is quite dark and heavy. It's interesting but not much more than that.

Great beginning for S.G. For me, 4 stars.

Report this review (#146138)
Posted Saturday, October 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars After quitting La Maquina de Hacer Pajaros, Charly Garcia decided to form a new band called Seru Giran, this debut album IMHO stands confidently along other latin prog gems, this one has the same escence of previous Maquina works, but in some ways this record reminds me of Fragile from Yes...long tracks combined with short tracks...and the sound reminds me of PFM early recordings. Seru Giran and Eiti-Leda are very symphonic tracks, the last one considered a classic to this very day and Charly as a solo artist has perfomed this track circa 1997. Lyrics of Seru Giran are quite a jigsaw puzzle really don't know what they mean, but it's a very well performed track...

Separata and Cosmigonon are the short ones, the one a very melancholic piece sung by Charly and probably a track I wish it was a little bit longer...and Cosmigonon with its killer guitar performance of David Lebon along with Charly's synths creates a fantastic spacey ambience...(The guitar riff has some similarities with the guitar solo in Feels Like the First Time/Foreigner).

The Other tracks are good fillers and Autos, Jets, Aviones, Barcos has the same feeling of Hipercandombe (La Maquina de Hacer Pajaros/Peliculas) very funky and joyful.

It's not their best album for me, but I really respect this work and because of that I rate it with 4 stars...

Report this review (#163457)
Posted Saturday, March 8, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars The first album of Serú Girán came after the band spent a whole year in Brazil preparing their new project - the ''brazilian feel'' can be heard in some tracks. The band arrived back in Argentina with their new album full of innovation (yes, even having a full backing orchestra was an innovation then, but they also wanted to have a tie in video released, telling the -perhaps surreal- story the songs narrated). Unfortunately, both the public and the specialized press had a hard time accepting the music, and it wouldn't be until their second album that they got consecrated as the 'Argentine Beatles'.

'Eiti Leda': This is certainly the highlight of the album, without a doubt, one of Charly García's top compositions. A symphonic rock masterpiece, which had already been heard - then named 'Nena' ('Baby') - during the 'Adiós Sui Generis' era. It starts with a really mellow intro showcasing a beautiful melody superbly delivered by García (''I want to see your face / Shining like a black slave / Smiling profusely / Far, far away from home / I don't have anybody to come with me / To see the morning / Nor to give me the injection on time / Before my heart rots off/away / Nor to warm these cold bones, baby'') who's joined by Lebón for the second verse. The song then changes tempo relaying a very colorful landscape of sounds, after which Aznar's bass kicks in, leading the song back to its mellow beginnings. The track ends with a bombastic synth-led instrumental showcasing an excellent orchestra arrangement. (The song really shined when played live - like most of Serú Girán's repertoire - as recorded for example, in the live album 'No Llores Por Mí, Argentina').

'El Mendigo en el Andén' ('The Beggar in the Platform') starts as a slow-paced guitar ballad with Lebón singing to us how ''I will always be / The beggar in the platform / Of the ghost town / Where the train never passes by''. But towards the end the orchestra kicks in accompanying our four musicians and prompting Lebón to change his stance and now shout ''I know you can love me!'' amid the fast paced instrumentation.

'Separata' is a short melancholic song, with a pinch of melodrama (''Something odd was happening to me at the hotel / I was alone, as alone a man sometimes has/needs to be / I knew that home, my home was far, far away from everything / And it would soon be time to get upstage to play / And perhaps / I didn't feel like seeing them / Like being with you all / And I stayed / Alone in my room / Reading about a bird / That flies and doesn't die''). Nevertheless it's beautifully delivered and has very nice melody.

'Autos, Jets, Aviones, Barcos' ('Cars, Jets, Planes, Boats'): This, an up-tempo track, sees García again relating the current situation he and the whole country was living: ''Cars, jets, planes, boats / Everybody's leaving'' sang Lebón, in clear allusion to all the people who were either forcefully- or auto-exiled due to the military regimen. This track shines as a real fusion song, and I'm not talking merely about Jazz-fusion (which is there) but one can't help but find brazilian rhythms - and even some candombe - in this drum-led song.

'Serú Girán': García wrote this song using senseless (nonsense) words... which would go on to shield not only the name of several songs but of the band itself. The song itself is masterfully orchestrated (even has some catchy passages), with many dynamic changes, specially when the nonsense lyrics start and stop. Another highlight of symphonic prog music.

'Seminare' is a pop ballad, perhaps the best known song by the band. García wrote it specifically thinking in Lebón's voice, and it shows. Despite its pop feel, it's a beautiful song with a nice piano/synth base, with the guitar and drums filling out their places perfectly. Its essentially telling the story of a guy trying to convince his girl to accept his humility and/or leave her pretensions behind. (''I give you bread, you want salt / Baby, I'm never gonna give you / What you are asking for/of me / I give you God, you want more / Is it that you will never understand / A poor guy?'').

'Voy a Mil' ('I'm Speeding'): As the title suggests this one is a rocker, which, much like 'Autos, Jets, Aviones, Barcos' ends with a fusion of candombe/brazilian rythms.

'Cosmigonón' is an interesting pure synthesized short instrumental which translates rather well the song's title to music (while not an actual spanish word, 'Cosmigonón' does remind one of the word 'cosmos'), thereby wonderfully closing an amazing album.

I rate this masterpiece 4.5 stars. It's really an excellent addition to anyone's rock collection, specially perhaps for symphonic rock fans.

Report this review (#201363)
Posted Sunday, February 1, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars I've been a fan of Charly García for almost 4 years now and this man never ceases to amaze me. As a fan of Sui Generis and La Máquina de Hacer Pájaros, I had thought that this man had already peaked his creative peak. A couple of months ago I discovered this legendary argentinian band by reference from a friend of mine. I sure had heard something of it, (having even heard one of my favorite tracks: "Eiti Leda" in a primitive form in the "Farewell Sui Generis" concert. The point is that I was wrong when I thought La Maquina was his peak.

Even though the music of La Maquina was intentionally far more "progressive", and excellently crafted it lacked the melodical mastery and emotion that I think this music achieves. In big part the presence of a strings and wind orchestra in most of the tracks adds to the majestuosity of the music, also the fact that 3 of the 4 musicians sing beautiful 3-part vocal harmonies. All of the tracks are very well thought, the lyrics are very surreal but pretty interesting, and the overall feeling of this album is a very mature one. I don't think this is the band's best effort but it sure is the most genuine one in my opinion. By researching I came into the fact that after this album was released, it was not very well received among the fans, who craved a somewhat more mainstream sound from their Idol.

A special mention to Eiti Leda, a masterpiece of progressive rock in my opinion, Seminare, El mendigo en el andén, and Serú Giran. This 4 tracks in my opinion define the "epicness" of this album. The other tracks are good, but I think they're the reason I give this album a 3.75 instead of a 4 or 4.25.

Report this review (#286893)
Posted Thursday, June 17, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars A legendary, short-lived and very succesful Argentinian band, formed in 1978 by keyboardist Charly García and ex-Polifemo guitarist David Lebon, following the demise of La Máquina de Hacer Pájaros.Starting months are somewhat confusing, it appears that Garcia and Lebon travelled to Brazil to write songs for a new band and album.Garcia returned to Buenos Aires after some months and got impressed by the bass playing of Alas' Pedro Aznar, so he was invited to join the new project along with drummer Oscar Moro, whom Garcia new from their common stin in La Máquina de Hacer Pájaros.Originally they worked with singer Billy Bond in Brazil as Billy Bond and the Jets, but after an album Bond decided to dissolve the formation.Seru Giran originated from the disbanding and the remaining quartet worked on new songs, partly recorded in Brazil and partly in Los Angeles, USA.The self-titled debut of the band came out later in the year on Sazam Records.

Basically a Symphonic Pop album, ''Seru Giran'' reveals the talents of the involved members in many pieces, however the shorter cuts are following a more Pop Rock vein, apparently affected by the trends of the time, when playing progressive music was like a curse.Still Seru Giran tried to offer refined and sophisticated arrangements, even if the singing lines are too melodramatic and sentimental and occasional poppy tunes are detected throughout the album.The album is led by a soft orchestral atmosphere due to Gracia's always gifted keyboard plays and the involvement of Daniel Goldberg as a director of the orchestral moves.While the album is pretty short, two tracks exceed the 7-min. mark, ''Eiti Leda'' and the eponymous one, in an attempt by Garcia and the crew to revive the sound of LA MAQUINA DE HACER PAJAROS, flavored by some Orchestral Pop moments.These pieces follow a mellow Symphonic Rock vein with lots of piano, soft guitars and light synth flashes, backed up by a Classical background, which reminds me of 69'-days' KING CRIMSON.The rest of the tracks are more confusing with acoustic parts, discreet jazzy colors, still some symphonic ovetones (even reminding of GENESIS) and plenty of Pop thrown in, resulting a bunch of decent arrangements, still quite far from the true talents of the exhibition team.Generally the album lacks energy, being too smooth at moments, but the material is pretty good with many artistic parts, which hold a progressive interest.

On the thin line between Pop and Symphonic Rock.Equal to Italians FORMULA TRE or LA BOTTEGA DELL'ARTE, but the musicians here were much more experienced, so an even better result was expected.Still recommended to fans of the lighter side of Prog Rock.

Report this review (#1301845)
Posted Saturday, November 8, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars The beginning of a sonorous search that was to become the biggest band in Argentina. Serú Girán starts from an unknown place, with a very progressive Charly García as leader. After dissolving his previous band La Máquina De Hacer Pájaros and leaving jazz/fusion behind, Carlos began to search for a more popular sound. Let's just say that the first album didn't exactly go well for them: At their first shows they got more tomatoes thrown at them than applause. People didn't understand what the project was all about. The song that gives the album its name is a concoction of invented words (it is worth noting that during those years Gentle Giant's music was becoming popular in Argentina) that was enormously rejected by the Argentine public. Charly García was coming off the back of two very high albums and this was clearly going to go down too badly. Ironically, this album has one of the most hated songs by the public and at the same time the anthem of Argentine rock: Seminare. A song written by Charly and sung by David Lebón. A fact that amuses me a lot is that the memorable solo of this song is taken from a little musical box that the band leader had. The highlight of the album is the song "Eiti-Leda", a beautiful display of creativity and unique melodies.
Report this review (#2599418)
Posted Tuesday, October 5, 2021 | Review Permalink

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