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Ibio - Cuevas de Altamira CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

3.26 | 35 ratings

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4 stars Apart from the information here on progarchives I don't really know much about this band, and I bought their album Cuevas De Altamira on the strength of the comparisons to The Strawbs. While I personally don't think they sound particularly like The Strawbs, this is undoubtedly a very good album. The overall sound is symphonic prog with folk elements. Keyboards pretty much dominate with Mario Gomez playing electric piano, clavinet, synthesizer, solina string synth and Mellotron. Although a variety of keys are prominent on every track they are ably supported by some great guitar work. The album consists of seven tracks, only two of which feature vocals. The vocals tend to the melodramatic side and may not be to everyone's taste, but the two vocal tracks are my favourites here.

The album opens with the title track and for the first minute or so has a groove that is very similar to Heroine's Theme by The Strawbs. After a short transition the main theme begins, featuring a lovely melody with synth and string effects. The vocals have a yearning quality that perfectly suit the music... very melancholy. Fuzzed guitar solo follows, sounding very much like John Lees of Barclay James Harvest. Beautiful! The song concludes with another vocal section and then guitar solo to fade, with the Mellotron throughout. A great start to the album. Romance Del Conde Lara is a short and jaunty instrumental featuring electric piano, synth, string synth, and electric and acoustic guitar. La Virulencia Del Ferrocarril starts off sounding like a demented version of the rock'n'roll standard Louie Louie, but then goes through various tempo and mood changes with plenty of great Mellotron, synth and electric guitar. Track 4, Las Chicas De Laredo, is another relatively short track. Despite its short length it also contains several different sections and features dreamy Mellotron, electric piano and guitar.

A Lo Alto Y A Lo Bajo is possibly the weakest track on the album. It features a military beat on the snare drum with guitar and synth playing in unison, but isn't particularly interesting. This is followed by Pastor, the highlight of the disc. After a nice instrumental introduction the vocals enter, backed by sustained synth. Acoustic guitar then gets the main song going, with electric piano backing. After a short synth break the tempo picks up and there's an extended instrumental section featuring synth with acoustic guitar backing. The guitar and keys then reverse roles, with flanged electric guitar backed by electric piano. Get those air guitars and keyboards out! The song finishes all too soon with an abbreviated transition. The final track, La Baila De Ibio, is the longest and heaviest track here. The bass and drums provide a rhythmic ostinato over which a variety of keys and guitars solo. Melodically this is not the strongest track, but it is very dramatic and features the Mellotron heavily.

In conclusion, there are some great moments here and the album and is recommended to anyone who likes their prog on the melodic side. I would rate it somewhere between good and excellent, but the high points and the Mellotron just tip in favour of the 4 stars.

seventhsojourn | 4/5 |


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