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Laghonia - EtCetera CD (album) cover




Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.53 | 22 ratings

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5 stars It's always a pleasure for a Peruvian to see one of our bands in Prog Archives (Well I had to add LAGHONIA because is not well known), but in this case is a mixture of happiness and pride because "Etcetera" is so well written that I'm 100% sure that if they would have been born in UK or USA by this moment they would be legends.

Let's remember that in the early 70's a Communist Military ultra Nationalist dictator had almost banned Rock because he considered it a Yankee form of imperialism (Well, we can find lunatics everywhere), so the achievement of this guys is double, because they managed to stay ahead of the Latin American Prog' movement despite having everything against them.

Normally the problem with foreign bands singing in English is the strong accent of the vocalists, this is not the case of LAGHONIA because one of the vocalists (David Levane) was from USA and Saul Cornejo had an almost perfect pronunciation of the language (Something very usual in Peruvian bands being that most singers come from Catholic American Schools so they learned English since very young).

By 1971 the band was passing through a crisis because two of their members (Alex Abab and Eddy Zaraus) were leaving for personal reasons (I believe they wanted to make a spiritual journey to Cuzco), but still they managed to create an outstanding album with the help of Ernesto Samamé on Bass (In some covers I read the name of Eddy Zaraus and Alex Abad).

The songs have strong influence from various bands, and are extremely well crafted, but the ones that impressed me more are:

"Someday" incredibly the guys don't hide anything for the end as most bands, they start with La Piece de Resistance", a 100% Progressive/Psychedelic track that begins with a wonderful and strong Hammond solo soon joined by an extremely beautiful guitar that gently flows and blends with the philosophical lyrics, outstanding song that describes early Prog as in a text book.

Mary Ann is a very heavy song, I would describe it as a very early power ballad, the rhythm guitar marks perfectly the song while the lead guitar creates occasional distorted explosions and the complex vocal chorus is perfect, but everything leads to a Latin Rock explosion a la Santana and a dramatic ending with violin. Another masterpiece.

"Lonely People" starts with a dramatic organ sound that suddenly vanishes to leave the lead to one of the most absolutely beautiful guitar sections that take us back to the late 60's (Electric guitar played in an acoustic style). Even though it's clearly a Psychedelic track, there's something that reminds me of early Beatles despite there's no musical relation, but after listening over and over I believe that Carlos Guerrero takes the lead vocals at some moments (for the first time) and this guy has a very similar vocal range to John Lennon, so possibly that's the reason.

But the song continues developing with extremely powerful organ sections, heavy distorted wah-wah guitars, radical changes and complex arrangements until the powerful ending that according to some stories made the people who had smoked funny stuff to almost introduce their heads in the loudspeakers, a 100% Progressive track.

"It's Marvelous" seems like a ballad (And as a fact it is), but the subtle psychedelic background organ and delicate guitar gives a special taste to this track, not a masterpiece but the delicate background work is impressive.

The rest of the songs is almost in the same vein, some strong others weaker, but the whole, the album is worth buying and an essential addition for anybody who wants to understand the development of Progressive Rock in the southern hemisphere.

Due to the fact that "Etcetera" marks the peak of a band and Peruvian Proto Prog /Psychedelia but not wanting to be extremely partial towards my country I had decided to play safe this time and give them only 4 stars, but you'll rarely see such good album by an almost unknown band, so I'll dare to give 5 stars

Hard to find, but worth the effort.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 5/5 |


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