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Poços & Nuvens - Clouds On The Road CD (album) cover

CLOUDS ON THE ROAD

Poços & Nuvens

Symphonic Prog


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Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Poços & Nuvens (wells & clouds in portuguese) is a prog band form Santa Maria, state of Rio Grande Do Sul, at the extreme south of Brazil. The people in there have their very own culture and history, with much influence of their spanish speaking neighbors of argentina, uruguay and paraguay. This group in particular does a great job unifying symphonic prog rock with popular music from their region. That is more evident when concerning their acoustic stuff, but not only. I had never heard of them before I got this live album recommended by a friend. It was one of 2013´s best surprises so far.

For a live album I found the recording quality to be nothing short of excellent, with every instrument and voice very well mixed and balanced, you can hear everything. The musicians are outstanding, showing great musicanship and versatility through the whole 73 minutes CD running time. Among the members we have a girl who plays some mean violin and one of the guitarrist also doubles on very good flute, providing the basic sound of guitar/keyboards/bass/drums with fantastic dynamics and variations. Most of the songs are also excellent stuff, much in the vein of the classic bands fo the 70´s (Yes, Jethro Tull, Kansas and ELP comes to mind while listening). That latter feature extends even into the lyrics, with much "hippie idealism" onto them. The only thing that really bugs me are the vocals: not bad, but just too plain and weak, miles away from their stunning instrumental prowness. That something seems to plague almost every prog band in Brazil: they probably think that anyone who can carry a tune can be a singer. On the folky, acoustic parts, maybe they can, but with the more elaborated, electric parts, where the demands of a technical vocalist with a wider range is evident, this is sorely missing. But that´s about the only glinch I could find and it doesn´t spoil the overall greatness of their work at any moment.

There are no real highlight here, all the tracks work very well. Some are better than the others, dependending on your personal taste, but none is weak. Personally I loved the longer tracks like Incenso E Chuva and Poços E Nuvens where tha band could exercise their obvious virtuosity with more freedom, but without causing any boredom to the listener.

All in all I found Clouds On the Road to be an excellent album: a tight band playing excellent music with a perfect production and astonishing perfomances. Their mix of symphonic prog rock and brazilian southern folk made their music sound both original and familiar at the same time. A very nice surprise that deserves a full 4 star rating (it would be 5 stars, if they had a better singer). Highly recommended!

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Send comments to Tarcisio Moura (BETA) | Report this review (#941787)
Posted Wednesday, April 10, 2013 | Review Permalink
ProgShine
COLLABORATOR
Errors & Omissions and Crossover Team
4 stars Poços & Nuvens is a Brazilian band that was born with a unique desire, to unite Progressive Rock with the Folk music from the south of Brazil. The band released two albums that were highly praised among Proggers between 1998 and 2001, but after that the band pretty much fell apart and didn't do much apart from few shows every year.

In 2008 the band's vocalist and guitarist, Gérson Werlang, released a solo album called Memórias Do Tempo (2008) and made me think that the band was really over. But a couple of years later a live album was being prepared. In 2012 two live albums were released by the band. Live In Mexico (2012) that was recorded in 2004 on Baja Prog Festival and Clouds On The Road (2012), recorded in 2005 on the festival their label (Rock Symphony) used to organize. Clouds On The Road (2012) was released by Rock Symphony with Musea Records distribution in the end of last year and has a very interesting art by the Brazilian, Gustavo Sazes.

Clouds On The Road (2012) has a change in the band's line up, more precisely in the 'kitchen' area. On the record we have Chico Gonçalves (bass) delivering a great performance and Rodrigo Bernardon (drums and percussion) that had played on Gérson's solo album. The rest of the lineup is the same as their studio albums: Gérson Werland (vocals, electric and acoustic guitars), Edgar Sleifer (guitar, flutes and vocals), Sávio Werlang (keyboards, accordion and vocals) and Iva Giracca (violin and vocals).

Poços & Nuvens' music always amazed me with the unique combination. Their lyrics are also fond to me. Being born in the south of Brazil I can understand and picture each and every one of their 'paintings'. But lyrics are not the only thing here. So, if you don't understand Portuguese, don't worry.

Clouds On The Road (2012) is pretty much based on their latest studio album, the great Província Universo (2001). About 75% of the live album comes from that album. In general, you have such a great concert, very well executed by the band with special mentions to Edgar's flutes, Iva's violins and the fragile and pretty vocals by Gérson. A shy kind of voice. On the other hand, Sávio sometimes delivers some really weak keyboards sounds here and there like in 'Vega' and 'A Sagração Do Outono', which is weird cause they're not like that on the original albums. But he also plays some pretty accordion on 'Dança Ao Crepúsculo' and 'Milonguita'.

You also have some songs that are a bit weird to their repertoire like 'Incenso E Chuva' and from their first album Ano Veloz Outono Adentro (1998) the double 'Todas As Estações' and 'Geração Perdida'. There are also some tracks that jump on you like 'Vindima E Ventania' (it has always been one of my favorites), 'Amanhecer' and 'Dança Ao Crepúsculo' and 'Milonguita'. Including the closing track 'Poços & Nuvens' that has a metal feeling but the great lines of violins changes it all.

Poços & Nuvens' Clouds On The Road (2012) is a marvelous opportunity if you don't know the band yet and would like to. Recommended!

(Originally posted on progshine.net)

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Send comments to ProgShine (BETA) | Report this review (#1003298)
Posted Monday, July 22, 2013 | Review Permalink

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