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Itoiz - Itoiz CD (album) cover

ITOIZ

Itoiz

 

Prog Folk

3.82 | 57 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars Although the Basque were better known for their prog folk groups, Itoiz, while remaining inherently Basque, was probably the most symphonic of all of those late 70's group from the rebel provinces and in all likelihood the Basque group most likely to please the progheads. Graced with one of the stranger artwork around with a large plastic window (making it one of the most sought-after Spanish-related records ever), the quintet's debut album is a particularly enjoyable and is quite a poetic affair with heavy symphonics, but staying firmly rooted in "latin" roots, if the Basque will allow lumping their culture in an ocean of Latin culture surrounding them. The line-up is your standard prog quartet plus a flutist and both the guitarist and bassist are singing.

While hardly flawless (it appears that the lead guitarist, JC Perez, could not sing and play at the same time, but I am not positive about this, but he is also the main composer), this first oeuvre is a rather impressive flute-laden Genesis or Camel-influenced prog, but somehow also prefacing the 80's symphonic or neo-prog. It is rather hard to say much more about this album, but if you love Italian prog lyricism, this stuff will simply overwhelm you, like only PFM, or QVL can. Never groundbreaking, not even original, but damn well executed for a debut album.

While they were not really among the forerunner of the Basque musical upheaval, Itoiz remains one of the best remembered and even if they changed quite a bit over the years, they were the ones that had the longest career, recording into the late 80's. While a little pompous (and certainly not helped by the Basque lyrics) and the above-mentioned "latin" feel, this music is always very melodic and never offensive to the ears, but seems to lack a little imagination or personality that would've made it that extra special to make it stand out. Close but no cigar.

NB: while most/all other Basque groups provided translation in French and Spanish of their texts, Itoiz does not and neither does their label which happens to be the same as the other group's.

Sean Trane | 4/5 |

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