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The Flying Caravan - I Just Wanna Break Even CD (album) cover


The Flying Caravan

Crossover Prog

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4 stars The musical brainchild of this Spanish prog project is guitar player Antonio Valiente, since 2000 he joined several bands, and he was a member of interesting Spanish prog band Numen. Since 2014 Antonio has worked on The Flying Caravan, turning his new muscial project into a five piece formation. On the debut 2-CD I Just Wanna Break Even he has invited guest musicans on saxophone, flute and vocals.

From the very first moment I am delighted about this 2-CD debut album, performed by outstanding musicians. The first two compositions on CD-1 deliver swinging rhythms, fuelled by a powerful and dynamic rhythm section. Get Real is coloured with a distorted funky electric piano sound and delicate Hammond and synthesizer work, halfway a break with rock guitar and a swirling Hammond solo, and finally a jazzrock inspired guitar solo. The other one The Flying Caravan contains a more bombastic sound featuring flashy Minimoog flights and pleasant female vocals. Next the mellow song Upstream To Manonash featuring a slow rhythm, dreamy synthesizer work and vocals, and a long, sensitive electric guitar solo, with soaring Hammond organ waves. I am in the mood, this band knows how to please a proghead. The folllowing track is Love´s Labour Mislaid, it starts dreamy with twanging guitar, soaring strings and high pitched vocals, halfway the mighty Hammond organ joins the emotional, a bit fragile female vocals, and finally a mid-tempo with propulsive drum beats and a strong Minimoog solo. The final composition on CD-1 is the epic, funny titled The Bumpy Road To Knowledge (close to 17 minutes). After the sound of thunder soaring strings and howling guitar take over, simply wonderful. Then an interlude with the distinctive sound of the Hammond with tremolo, soon joined by spacey pitchbend driven Minimoog flights (Minimoog wizard Manfred Mann comes to my mind). The music turns into a slow rhythm with dreamy vocals, halfway a moving guitar solo, embellished with Hammond. In the long final part first cheerful Minimoog flights, then a jazzy saxophone solo and fiery guitar leads, a strong conclusion of a long but tastefully arranged track.

CD-2 contains two epic compositions. First the magnum opus entitled A Fairy For Grown-Ups, divided into seven parts. The melodic and harmonic music shifts frequenlty, from mellow to a swinging rhythm, from dreamy to mid- tempo, or a break with powerful bass and a Fender piano sound. The sound is embellished with swinging electric piano, inventive drum ? and bass work, Minimoog flights (echoes from Styx), varied electric guitar (from sensitive to fiery), and pleasant female vocals. Despite the very long running time (36 minutes!) The Flying Caravan never fails to keep my attention. The other long track is an alternative version of The Bumpy Road To Knowledge, the main difference is no saxophone but sparkling work on the flute.

For me Flying Caravan is a strong example of the pretty underrated world of Spanish progressive rock, highly recommened, I am curious to the development of this interesting new band with its huge potential.

Report this review (#2525772)
Posted Wednesday, March 17, 2021 | Review Permalink
3 stars This album is almost 100 minutes long?

So what one should expect is pretty soft fusion with Fleetwood Mac and plenty of time for instruments to strut there stuff.

Get Real is an instrumental song that wouldn't be out of place on a 70s Camel album, pretty chill stuff it's nice. I like the abrupt guitar solo towards the end.

Flying Caravan begins with acoustic guitar strumming away, thumping kick drum and bombastic moog. Electric guitar replaces the acoustic guitar shortly and vocals join shortly. The singer is a female who sings in a classic rock tradition reminding me of Fleetwood Macs chiller tunes. Keyboard lead lines are very bright and chipper, just like the entire song.

Upstream To Manonash starts romantically, string synths and sexy bass. When the singing begins it is delivered over a slow rhythm and fits the atmosphere well. A Santana esque guitar solo goes well later in the song.

Loves Labour Mislaid begins with acoustic guitar and oohs. This one follows the mold of the previous two songs. There is a nice rhythmic part for this songs bridge that goes into a keyboard solo.

The Bumpy Road To Knowledge begins with ambient pads. Quiet bass and organ come in soon and eventually the kind of Moog solo where you scrunch your eyes as you play it begins. Singing then comes in over acoustic guitar arpeggios bass and drums. Flute joins in around five minutes and the song picks up. A brief pause for one saxophone note and the chiller vocal parts come back. Guitar joins the mix, taking the flutes space. A brief pause again for a note of keyboard then the vocals again. At ten minutes listeners are granted a smooth jazz sax solo. Male vocals then come in over energetic electric guitar power chords and are in time replaced by electric lead guitar. At fourteen minutes the song ends, but no it still has more, slowly strings and stately percussion build up for a pastoral flute/singing conclusion. Gotta say this song is way too long for what it is.

Now the 35 minute long suite???..

A Fairy Tale For Grown Ups

A Fairy Tale For Grown Ups Part 1 begins with strummed acoustic guitar so high on the fretboard it sounds like a ukulele. Piano then takes its place. Halfway the band begins to play together, one of the jazziest parts of the album.

A Fairy Tale For Grown Ups Part 2 I don't enjoy the way these two songs are linked, the previous track loses all its energy to pretty much repeat the process except now they're singing.

A Fairy Tale For Grown Ups Part 3 the transition on this one is better. Anyways the track starts with acoustic guitar and happy keyboard that is replaced by vocals. There is a bit of scatting for a short bridge, decent amount of guitar soloing. It all just leads back to the singing.

A Fairy Tale For Grown Ups Part 4 fluid transition into this one which begins with airy vocals and harmonics on guitar. Then a brief guitar solo and vocals again but with bass/drums. Organ drone interlude then vocals again plus organ in the background.

A Fairy Tale For Grown Ups Part 5 starts with bass and e piano jazzing it up. Drums come in to rock the jazz and guitar alternates with keyboards, sorta.

A Fairy Tale For Grown Ups Part 6 starts with guitar strumming and male/female vocals. This one is more rock then the previous track. Begins with guitar arpeggios on acoustic guitar and male/female vocal harmonies. This one is folksier. The basses entrance is well timed and adds some flavour. Piano comes halfway through to introduce a more upbeat section.

Honestly this suite should have been an album itself.

The Bumpy Road To Knowledge (Alt) is the last track. It begins with ambient sounds and as far I could tell was the same as the original.

Overall this is a solid debut that I think fans of Melodic Symphonic Progressive Rock would really enjoy.

Report this review (#2590979)
Posted Tuesday, August 31, 2021 | Review Permalink

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