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BICICLETA

Seru Giran

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Zitro
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars 4.5 Stars rounded up.

"Bicicleta" is usually called their best lp. It is easy to explain why. The maturity they have reached here has not been topped after Bicicleta. In addition, The progressiveness has increased here, with the clear example being the opening track and masterpiece "A Los Jovenes de Ayer". Other improvements are the vocals and lyrics, which combine the aggressive ones from "La Grasa" with the poetic ones from their debut.

Talking about "A Los Jovenes de Ayer", it is a progressive rock song that prog fans will most certainly enjoy a great deal. It is my personal favorite composition from Charly Garcia in his whole career. The epic begins with a very extended and dynamic instrumental overture that combines classical music, jazz-rock and even tango. After the overture, the epic turns into a ballad with unforgettable melodies and an odd approach on bass-guitar arrangements (considering this is a ballad).

"Cuánto Tiempo más llevara" starts as a mellow tune filled with beautiful melodies from all instruments and vocals. To the surprise of the listener, the song suddently turns desperate and heavier with loud vocals and frenzied drumming. It then turns to its previous state and finishes with a very nice guitar solo.

"Canción de Alicia en el País" is a political song. It is mid-tempo and its main emphasis are the lyrics. The instrumentation compliment those lyrics very well and never dominate, creating a musical story.

"La Luna de Marzo" is basically a three-minute long synthesizer solo, but it's pulled off brilliantly. I especially like the tone Charly could get his synth to sound like and the restraint in the solo. The instrumentation in the background is a repetitive semi-acoustic guitar and synthesizer walls of sound.

"mientras Miro las Nuevas Olas" is both a rocker and a ballad and they managed to go back and forth coherently. Some lyrics are very fun:

"Te acuerdas del tipo que rompía las guitarras (Do you remember the dude who broke the guitars) cuando nadie tenía un miserable amplificador? (When nobody had a damn amplifier) ¡Hay miles ahora!. (there are thousands now!)

"Desarma y Sangra" is a pure ballad with melancholic piano themes. I feel like I've been repetitive using the word "melody", but it applies here as well, it is what makes these songs so good.

"Tema de Nayla" reminds me a bit of Chick Corea due to the prominent use of the Rhodes electric piano. It is a mellow npn-mainstream song with an uptempo jazzy instrumental section near the end.

"Encuentro con el Diablo" is a political song that manages to meld reggae, rock, and blues. It sounds very unique and not forced at all. Instead of inaccessible, it is a very fun and catchy song with a cool main riff.

Another brilliant album from Serú Girán. Unfortunately, their creativity plummeted after this.

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Send comments to Zitro (BETA) | Report this review (#136119)
Posted Monday, September 03, 2007 | Review Permalink
Ricochet
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars We see here a second classic (overall, it is a third great one from the band, I only contest, a bit, the value of the debut) by Serú Girán and the leading idol Charly Gargia. Though creating using a total of styles that could be counted on the fingers of one hand, everythign sounds highly evolved, thus it is pleasant, palpitating, has lots of qualities and gifted sensations. It isn't much of a real improvement from the previous one (which handled an astonishingly inspired craft, plus plugged a lot of Argentinian fans to listen and love); it has the electric goodies from Grasa de las Capitala, driving only into more attractive, profound, energy-revolting and unique blushes of creation and interpretation. Affirming, once more, the pure beauty inside a rock of nice templates.

Bicicleta's main appreciable character inerts on the shoulders of the artists, who tender towards art and a full vigor of sensible accuracy, yet all this balance of music and very slow ideas is also made of an un-deteriorated fluency that the music has. The material, without being exquisite, is natural and resembles even better (actually, better than ever) the whole ideals of rock 'n' roll, strong art, by perfect tones and some traditional accents that prevent the music from being a minor tuned rock concept. The music reflects the artists, the artists sturdy back on the music, so both reach out to the listener - quite like this does it all happen. Bicicleta is an album reaching popular intensity, brave rhythms of music, but also is an artistic flake.

The relaxed work combines composition with interpretation (the latter having more spontaneity), rock with a fuzzy poetry, lightness with darkness, intensity with straight good feelings, jazzy and romantic tunes with dramatic or bit distorted tones. It is quite the best an album can express, with a bottled up ostination. Yes, this album, more than all the others, can be progressive, stirring up a lot of a rock fusion. Cautions are, however, the general lyricalness, the dry instrumentality, plus different eccentric notes that embrace a jolly rock independent taste.

I'll give a walkthrough try, in the end, because each piece sounds well composed and even winds up its own share of the classy style. A los jovenes de ayer actually is surprisingly perfect, being a blusterous dream of jazz-moody ambiances on a choral of dark-nuanced work, with special instrument takes. Cuanto tempo mas llevera is a movement of vocal profoundness, on top of serene melodic and obscure shifts coming from the instruments' own poetry. Cancion de Alicia... is more impressive if you enjoy some curious texts and distinct emotions: sounds like a ballad losing its shine, but it is cajoled with melancholy. La luna de Marzo only whispers an introduction to Mientras miro las nuevas olas, who is a bit unimpressive rock dynamic fleet and bang. Desarma y Sangra already reduced Serú Girán to flavor rock and poetic passion play; a bit too much new-wave. Tema de Nayla is a long cool-air slow fusion, most interesting being a couple of moments when the band experiments rhythm. Encuentro con el diablo is pop-soul, so it can pass. Fun to hear it though.

Serú Girán's finest and purest album, all in all.

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Send comments to Ricochet (BETA) | Report this review (#137431)
Posted Sunday, September 09, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars I want to ride my Bycicle...

Third studio album by 'Serú'. The style is the authentic sound by SG. At this album, the lyrics about politics are more frequent. There are also, some melancholic lyrics.

A los jóvenes de ayer: the beginning couldn't be better. A los jóvenes de ayer is, may be, the most progressive work by Serú. The introduction is a tango-influenced composition with metter changes, complex harmony and skilled musicians. When the song starts, it's a rock ballad, but after that the composition becomes a prog work again. Just listen to this great song... and enjoy it.*****

Cuanto tiempo más llevará: a nice song at the beginning; a strong theme at the major climax part.****

Canción de Alicia en el país: this song is an allegory. Charly García is a clever lyrics writer and he used the Alice's Adventures in Wonderland to speak about Argentina (In my country, there was a military government). The music is awesome, too. It's quite eclectic... rock'n'roll; minor mode, major mode...; vocals...****'

La luna de Marzo: an instrumental piece... a synth's solo over a cyclic base. Nice composition.****

Mientras miro las nuevas olas: long live rock'n'roll! Probably, the less progressive song here. But it's OK. The lyrics are quite melancholic.***

Desarma y sangra: is a perfect song... It's a journey for modes (scales). Here, we can see the classical music influence in Charly. I can't describe some more. Just linten to it.*****

Tema de Nayla: a typical Lebon's song. A classic rock ballad, but with the typical SG's sound. Pay attention to the keys solo: an interesting jazz-rock arrangement.***'

Encuentro con el Diablo (Meeting with the Devil): It's another reference to politics. A military governor had a meeting with some argentinian rockers. Then Garcia wrote this song. The music isn't too nice, but the lyrics make to this song interesting.***

Awesome album by SG. Excellent addition to any prog music collection.

Average rating: 4 stars

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Send comments to Marcos (BETA) | Report this review (#157024)
Posted Saturday, December 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is, according to most, the best album by Serú Girán. While I consider the bands first three albums all to be masterpieces, I think its here that the band managed to really coalesce into a single unit. The first album, was mostly led by maestro Charly García and has a more classical music feel to it. The second album saw the band consolidate itself but producing more mainstream rock oriented tracks. On the other hand, Bicicleta saw the band producing a rather proggy album with amazing things to hear. This is mainly evidenced by the whole array of genres that find their way here: rock&roll, jazz, tango, new wave...

'A los Jóvenes de Ayer' ('To the Youngsters of Yesterday') is one of the highlights of the album, its long (mostly jazzy) intro being the perfect opener for such a superb LP. Near the middle of the track the vocals kick in and the tango feel shows off the most. This is not a coincidence: the song was an homage/witty attack by García on certain sectors of the tango community that disregarded Rock. It ends with another instrumental part more fully realized and with Aznar's fretless bass taking the lead.

'¿Cuánto Tiempo Más Llevará?' ('How Much Longer Will It Take?'). This song has been regarded by Charly García himself as the best from the album. While I do not agree with him, I nevertheless do understand why he says so: this David Lebón track is raw power (not in the way heavy metal bands would have you believe raw power should be). It shows off a nice melody, delivered with the full beauty Lebón's voice can manage. The last minute has Lebón asking us ''How much longer will it take?'' to great effect and showing his skills with an electric guitar.

'Canción de Alicia en el País' ('Song of Alice in the Land'). This song starts rather softly with a folky feel during the first two verses... That is soon changed when the ominous drums that will pervade the song until its end, start off. The instrumentation wonderfully fits the desolation and hopelessness the lyrics convey (''Don't tell what you saw in the gardens, the dream is over. [...] A river of heads crushed by the same foot, play cricket under the moon. We are in no-mans land, but its mine. The innocents are guilty, says His Honor, the King of Spades. Don't tell what's behind that mirror, you won't have power, nor lawyers, nor witnesses.'') Charly's genius resides not only in the composition itself but in the way he managed to disguise the song with Carrollian references so as to evade censorship, and at the same time, retain his anti-dictatorship message intact.

'Luna de Marzo' ('March [the month] Moon'). This is the second track by Pedro Aznar published by the band. Its an intrumental, where Aznar lets himself loose with a synthesizer and his production skills. The end result is an atmospheric piece that serves to close the first half of the album.

'Mientras Miro las Nuevas Olas' ('While I See the New Waves') has García wittily telling another group of musicians to take it easy, and that it has all been done before, they are not really revolutionizing anything. This time it's the new wave rocker who gets reprimanded (''While I see the new waves / I'm already part of the sea'' sings Charly García). This is accomplished by inserting many dynamic changes between the more rocker and the softer parts.

'Desarma y Sangra' ('Breaks(s) to pieces and Bleed(s)') This is, simply, a beautiful ballad. It consists primarily of García vocals plus his piano, with some synth notes here and there. It has some cryptic lyrics, which is rather uncommon for García (''I look all around / Wounds that come / Suspicions that go / And here I am / Thinking about the soul that thinks / And because of thinking its not a soul / Breaks to pieces and bleeds'').

'Tema de Nayla' ('Theme of Nayla'). This is, in my opinion, the highlight among highlights in this album. Lebón delivers a beautiful melody, with Moro's drums as a soft backdrop and Aznar's bass harmonizing as the backing vocals. The song ends with a lengthy jazz - or fusion for the more rigorous of you - piano-led (courtesy of Diego Rapoport, per Lebón's request) instrumental section. I'm sure prog fans will know to appreciate the piano here, with the rythm changes and Moro and Aznar filling their parts prodigiously.

'Encuentro con el Diablo' ('Meeting with the Devil'). This is mostly country rock: the Lynyrd Skynyrd influence is notorious here, so much that it has been acknowledged by García himself. Although the myth says the song is about a meeting between the band and the then current dictator of argentina (or, according to other versions, a member of the cabinet), it has been denied by the band. This rather upbeat and humorous track is a fitting conclusion, I think, to the brooding and excellent tracks that preceded it.

All in all this is a wonderful album that leaves the listener lusting for more... Fortunately that lust can easily be quenched by spinning the disc again, as the listener will need several listens to grasp all the intricacies and harmonies which are layered in tracks like 'A los Jóvenes de Ayer', 'Tema de Nayla' or '¿Cuánto Tiempo Más Llevará?'. Its a 5 stars for sure.

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Send comments to Tycho (BETA) | Report this review (#200757)
Posted Monday, January 26, 2009 | Review Permalink
Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Even though "Bicicleta" is almost unanimously acknowledged as Serú Girán's finest hour in their studio recording career, I personally prefer their second album "La Grasa De Las Capitales", but in no way do I mean to imply that I disregard this album's artistic merits. In fact, I view it as the inspired result of the creative momentum that had peaked in the "La Grasa" album and so all four musicians felt energized enough as to pursue the continuing brilliancy when approaching, arranging and performing the brand new compositions delivered by Garcia, Lebon and Aznar. The 9+ minute long opener 'A los jóvenes de ayer' has to be one of the most stunning piano-centered rock songs ever in Argentinean rock history, and arguably a top 3 song in Charly Garcia's individual résumé. Oh, words cannot just describe a portion of the exquisite beauty emanated from the abundant piano flourishes and delicate synth layers that make the nucleus of the extended introductory theme. Also worthy of praise is Moro's rhythmic delivery, which anchors the melodic development and variations consistently while Aznar keeps himself busy alternating his rhythmic and melodic roles on fretless bass guitar. This piece states a balanced combination of tango-fusion, jazz and symphonic prog, and just when things get a bit calmer during the sung portions, they happen to be just an anticipation of the glorious finale section. Glorious, yet not overdone? brilliant! After this magnificent entry, the next track is a definitive Serú Girán classic, the Lebon-penned 'Cuánto tiempo más llegará': a semi-ballad that states a solid mixture of soft rock and Latin jazz, properly ornamented with a rocky interlude that mostly serves as an enhancement of the introspective existential lyrics. 'Canción de Alicia en el país', not unlike 'A los jóvenes de ayer', bears lyrics that reflect the social tension and political drama of living in a dictatorship in metaphors (oh, what a great lyricist Garcia used to be!). 'Canción' is not as epic as the opener though, being more a sophisticated rocker whose appeal is based on the clever multi-guitar interplaying and the noticeably syncopated handling of the drum kit by the greatly talented Moro; in this way, it turns out to be less romantic and more creepy. 'La luna de marzo' is a lovely instrumental performed on Mini-Moog, electric guitar arpeggios and bass textures: it is evocative, and also it is subtle enough as to never let its repetitive framework get annoying or tiring, it is just magical in the sense of surreal delicacy. Side A is the most accomplished one, IMHO. Things become not as great for the sequence of the four remaining tracks, but let me make it clear that there is still greatness in the classically oriented expressiveness of the piano-based ballad 'Desarma y sangra' (even including partial quotations from Baroque chamber) and the Lebon-penned jazzy semi-ballad 'Tema de Nayla' (a moving manifestation of hope amidst the fear of losing someone so dear): the latter features Master Rapoport on the closing electric piano solo that beautifully portrays the running melancholy of the song's nucleus. Less accomplished but also signaled by good musical quality are 'Mientras miro las nuevas olas', which delivers a reflection on the then nascent new wave pop under an Elton John rocker's guise, while 'Encuentro con el diablo' delivers yet another political satire on a blues-rock note (with added touches of "jazzed" reggae). So, "Bicicleta" is yet another convincing fulfillment of Serú Girán's vision: a very good album for any prog rock collector and any rock collection.

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Send comments to Cesar Inca (BETA) | Report this review (#297518)
Posted Sunday, September 05, 2010 | Review Permalink

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