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Seru Giran - La Grasa de las Capitales CD (album) cover


Seru Giran

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4 stars 3.8 stars

The album that brought the band to the Argentine masses! While it is a step-down in artistic value and complexity, it is an excellent addition to their discography, containing some classics and remaining prog-related.

The jazz-rock diminished greatly and was replaced with pure ballads and in-your-face rockers. the moog synthesizer usage diminished greatly as well, minimizing the 'progressive' sound. The poetry became less complex and more direct, with some political lyrics that almost cost these musicians jail time (remember the "Dirty War"). The progressive elements stay mostly in the song structures.

"La Grasa De Las Capitales" is an "in-your-face" progressive rocker with addictive anthemic vocals, several time and style changes, and an instrumental section recycled from Sui Generis' 'Tango en Segunda' which was also written when the Military was taking over my nation. I love these tight songs that they make, which bring many musical ideas and never stretch them.

"San Fransisco y el Lobo" is closer to Sui Generis as it's only an acoustic guitar and vocals. Good melodies, but a bit simple for my tastes.

"Perro Andaluz" is another tight song with several ideas that are not underdeveloped dispire the short duration of the track. All the musicians have their chances to shine here.

"Frequencia Modulada" is a latin-rock song with a somewhat jazzy and adventurous instrumental section. The melodies and riffs here are solid as usual.

"Paranoia y Soledad" is the least accessible track due to its lengthy duration and focus on the instrumentation, just like the epic of their debut album. The singers stretch their vocals and vocalize without words. The piano and guitar arrangements are exquisite once you warm up to this extremely slow and mellow song. The song ends with the melodies being played with the fretless guitar and the band joining in.

"Noche de Perros" is another lengthy track and is even better. This is the darkest and most bitter-sounding song in here. The bass is dominating the guitar and the harmony vocals are back. The closest to a pop hook is the "na na na" wordless vocalizations because of the melody. When this song reaches the instrumental section, prepare to be amazed! David Lebón finally plays a jaw-dropping guitar solo and the music builds up into a conclusion that is nothing short of epic. Easily the best song in this album.

"Viernes 3AM" is a very depressing song that stands among their best-known tunes. The melodies are outstanding and the musical arrangements are gorgeous. at Minute 3, a very nice bass solo is played along with catchy "la la la" wordless vocals. One major complaint that stop it from being a highlight for me is the ticking clock that overstays its welcome.

"Los Sobrevivientes" is an odd progressive rock song that is almost completely driven by the vocals and keyboards. Some of the synth sounds are unique and really work for the solos.

"Cancion de Hollywood" is adventurous like most of the tracks here, but this song never clicked on me. I don't enjoy the melodies in the beginning though the second half is better and doesn't leave a sour taste after the album finishes.

This is another great album from Seru Giran, but you should buy their albums in chronological order in my opinion. I actually found this one harder to get into, even if it is considered more radio-friendly.

Report this review (#136116)
Posted Monday, September 3, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A second album within this band's discography walk, closing up to be a classic, or just combining thundering qualities with the best brewed emotions. Much of Serú Girán's imagination, in this rock powerful genre, stands similar to any foreign band's national and traditional breaks: light as a feather rock, a couple of finely expressed (even artistic) ideas, plus a blush, either dramatic either realistic, of a sincere opened play, the way a trademark/tag can't enclose it. Serú Girán plays a music of perfect style, mostly on this and the next album, even if that means only a perfect tempo and stepped rock that's purely based on their limits and on the more naive high emotions within the genre. Though I can't say how much of an eulogy towards Argentinian music it is (not that it sounds cheap, still...), Serú Girán's music certainly fits well the country's sphere of rock.

La Grasa de las Capitales is not on everybody's taste, it may not even warm enough the heart of gentle rock preferences and pleasure, but it certainly hasn't got anything revolting and distant in it. Part creative part fully relaxed, the album has fantasy and also plays the music of a diverse, just not complex and criminal mark. The lack of complexity actually shows Serú Girán in no need to brink any rock galore, since they embalm and enchant with what they have as sweet art, powerful expression and native sense. Just like always, it would be wrong to find this rock profoundness as a masquerade of artifices and a cold-styled music, because, by their firmest albums, Serú Girán play a polished and charming special harmony of rock. And, a bit, prog.

If some allusions might confuse the music with retro and plain rhythms and accents, the artists (and enough of the best moments they compose in this album) will tell differently the essence and chrysanthemum passion of Serú Girán. Stimulating, again, a lot of personality, the artists are also tenacious and experienced, doing a fruitful kind of rock orchestration with few aneurysms or slow lurks. The guitarist does a couple of excellent broadenings, on both acoustic and electric, flaky or aromatic levels. The lush arrangement of the keyboards is something to endlessly like, combining a lot of heavy notes and music ideas and yet sounding remarkably caustic. Charly Garcia, finally, has a golden voice. The album, though with enough soft and diverse spots to ruin any deep nuance, has some cheerful symphonic rock ethers and rock atmospheres, plus enjoys very much to balance pure music with bright modulations. It is simple music, that sounds anything but dry.

Recommended are Perro Andaluz for its cheerful rock daydream, Frequencia Modulada for a bitter lemon harmonic dance and beat rock, Las Sobrevivientes for a saucerful of music simplicity doing a large impression of full emotion, Paranoia y Soledad for a lovely sadness and distant glow. Other pieces have some peculiar instrumental arrangements, while the first two pieces are working on more pop-rock.

A beautiful and peaceful album, quite recommended for all rock lovers; even if simplicity and haze will break many complex expectations, this is very good and amazingly talented.

Report this review (#137396)
Posted Sunday, September 9, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Paranoia y Soledad

Great second album by Serú Girán; this one is another very eclectic album: we can say that SG is a prog-related band... but if we want to be precise, we have to say that SG is much more than that. First, Serú has got four large sources of music: rock'n'roll, classical music, jazz (fusion, jazz rock, modern jazz) and tango. David Lebon came from bands like Polifemo, Pescado Rabioso (both of hard rock). Oscar Moro was the drummer of many argentinian bands like Los Gatos (a beat band first argentinian band with Lyrics in Spanish), La Máquina de Hacer Pájaros (symphonic rock). Charly Garcia came from Sui Generis (folk and symphonic rock), Porsuigieco (folk symphonic rock) and La Máquina; he was pianist when he was a boy, and became rocker keyboardist since Sui Generis. Pedro Aznar was 17 when Seru Giran was born; Aznar plays a fretless bass and he's a great composer and can play lots of instruments. In 1983, Aznar left the band because he began to study at Berklee and play with Pat Metheny. This album has got a better quality of sound than the previous album.

La Grasa de las Capitales is an ironic and pejorative song about the famous people; It's quite amusing. The music begins with a little choir and then the band appears with a latin-nfluenced rhythm. But also there is some of tango in the melodies. The vocal arrangement is awesome.*****

San Francisco y el lobo is a typical Lebon's ballad. An acoustic guitar and a voice. A short and emotional song.***

Perro Andaluz; I could describe this song as a strange classic rock song, may be with some of jazz-rock. Listen to the instrumental part... It`s just Serú Girán... what can I say?.****

Frecuencia Modulada... what a curious style: some of funk, may be, some of jazz, may be, or just classic rock... I don't know... Just listen to it.****

Paranoia y Soledad is a masterwork. It's an emotional song with a complex music of jazz-rock and symphonic rock. Here, the main voice is Pedro Aznar (always, the main voices are Lebon and Garcia). Great performance by Aznar and his mates. If you are a Weather Report fan, you have to listen to this work*****

Noche de perros: the sad climax increases. The song is very intense. A not complex composition with a very well arrangement. The coda is awesome!.****

Viernes 3AM: the saddest song. It tells about the suicide. Lyrics are a piece of poetry. Beautiful and depressive song. Listen to the bass solo, it's really nice.****

Los sobrevivientes is another masterpiece. It's a kind of tango with dark voices. The piano work is awesome. The arrangement is comparable to a great symphonic rock's work.*****

Canción de Hollywood is a sad (melancólica, in Spanish) and strong song. Again, I can't describe this track, because it's much more than a classic rock song. The arrangement is complex, strong, emotional.****'

Serú Girán is, for me, much more than a prog-related band. Probably, it could be in the Eclectic prog or Crossover rock sub- genres. This album deserves 4.3 stars for me, because of the eclecticism and the high level of compositions and arragement. Besides of that, lyrics are nice. The cover art is a satire of a famous magazine of famous people's gossips. It's in connection with the first song.

Average rating: 4.3 stars

Report this review (#156734)
Posted Wednesday, December 26, 2007 | Review Permalink
Cesar Inca
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars After a very interesting and revealing debut album that, all things considered, didn't fulfill its potential completely, Serú Girán continued to move on taking advantage of the gradual momentum that they were building with domestic audiences. By the time that they released their second album La Grasa de las Capitales, the music press and the rock fans had generally named them as the new heroes of Argetinean rock. This album had a more aggressive sound, a more robust playing and a tighter set of compositional ideas, which only came to confirm and enhance this new found apple of the public's eye. There are two main facts to take into acccount: the orchestral tendencies are mostly gone and the writing structures tend to bear less ambitious sturctures, but contrary to what one might expect from these descriptions, the album is more cohesive than its predecessor under the standards of art-rock. The namesake opener and 'Un Perro Andaluz' are pretty much centered around the cadences of jazz-pop: the former incorporates effective elements of funk and disco (mosly for humorous purposes) in order to create a frantic mood; the latter revolves around introspective moods, while retaining a similar colorfulness (worth mentioning is the terrific bass solo that sets the pace for the instrumental interlude). The Latin-jazz spirit of 'Frecuencia Modulada' is highly motivated by Moro's immaculate drumming and Lebón's excellent acoustic guiar leads: I wouldn't have minded that this anthem against the pandemic, perpetual banality of commercial pop had lasted a bit longer than its 3 minute span, but it bears enough punch as it is. Among this display of energy and sensuality in an elegant art-rock guise lies the short, delicate acoustic ballad 'San Francisco y el Lobo', a beautiful moment of meditation. The first symphonic-oriented track in the album is the Aznar-penned 'Paranoia y Soledad', a power ballad in which he played almost all keyboards together with his usual bass role: at first listen it may seem too meandering and boring, but repeated listenes will find a refined structured and a fluid evolution of the main motif. The only real meandering part is the sung interlude, which I find unnecessarily overlong. More successful in terms of compositional structure is the other power ballad 'Noche de Perros', one of the finest Lebón moments ever. This track bears a very Floydian sound in its spacey moods, which make sense with the existentialist thoughts portrayed in the lyrics: the final guitar solo is just amazing, floating and expanding itself over the dreamy synth layers and piano arpeggios. Actually, the album's second half is my fave part, and 'Noche de Perros' brought an exquisite overture. Track 6 is yet another ballad, less pompous than the previous two, more intimate, and that's accordingly to the suicide theme of the lyrics: this track will set a paradigm for future Serú Girán pieces as well as early Charly garcía's solo albums. The third and last symphonic-based track in the album is the majestic 'Los Sobrevivientes', a well-constructed kaleidoscope of segued motifs that go from tango-fusion to Baroque to Romanticism to Gershwin-style textures. García really shines as a composer here, and he will continue to do so for the album's closure 'Canción de Hollywood'. This one brings airs of jazz-fusion, traditional ballad and symphonic rock in a similarly concise scheme as in the previous track, only less adventurous and with a more agile swing all the way through: elaborated with noticeable overtones of art-rock, this song provides a very good farewell for an excellent album in terms of mood, melody and clever developments.
Report this review (#168180)
Posted Saturday, April 19, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars After the release of their first record, I heard that Seru Giran was widely criticized of delivering a way too "sophisticated" sound to the audiences, as well as too many "girly" vocal harmonies and orchestral arrangements into their songs.

They seemed to have listened to their audiences, because the sound of their second LP was certainly more "radio friendly" Amazingly, the sound they managed to achieve was in my opinion, more elaborate, interesting and well thought. (Unlike a lot of bands we know that lower the quality of their compositions in order to reach a wider audience).

This album (as the first one) features plenty rock songs and also slower, quieter ballads that exploit the vocal capabilities of their members. I think this album achieves what their first one couldn't: Get the attention of new fans and approach the progressive rock genre to a wider audience, and actually fill a venue with progheads (who I think didn't realize they were progheads). This album has a 4.25 to me.

Report this review (#286895)
Posted Thursday, June 17, 2010 | Review Permalink

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