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Traffic Sound - Traffic Sound [aka: III / Tibet's Suzettes] CD (album) cover


Traffic Sound


Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.27 | 22 ratings

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5 stars Two albums and almost 4 years had passed since Rizo Patron brothers and Manuel Sanguinetti left THE HANG TENS to form a serious Rock project that will be TRAFFIC SOUND, their first release was a mini LP containing six cover versions of different artists (With a unique approach), the second album "Virgin" found the band searching for their definitive identity but leaving for posterity the Peruvian Psychedelic anthem (Meshkalina).

Now it was time to reach the maturity with this LP named "Traffic Sound" (To avoid confusions people often call it III or Tibet's Suzettes in reference to the opening track).

But how had they matured? Well, TRAFFIC SOUND had a clear distinctive Latin approach to British and/or American Psychedelia that made them different to any other band in the sub continent and even in the world. Each musician had his favorite sound or influence, in this album Jean Pierre Magnet (Flute, Saxophone) and Billy Barclay (Guitar) seem inspired in Ian Anderson and Martin Barre from Jethro Tull, the rest of the members receive influences from Santana, Cream, Hendrix and even Traffic, but the great merit is that they blend all this sounds and create their own unique trade mark that makes them so special.

The interesting and peculiar thing is that TRAFFIC SOUND started simultaneously with JETHRO TULL so the development of this sound is almost coetaneous, that's why I'm still not sure if it's influence or a parallel musical development in the opposite sides of the world.

Now lets go to check "Traffic Sound" (Tibet's Suzettes or III if you want):

The album opens with the excellent "Tibet's Suzettes (Gently guaranteed to get you high)" well they don't make promises in vain, the song gets me really high. This track is very close to early Tull, for moments I feel a similarity with "Teacher" (both songs were released in April 1970), a strong guitar a la Barre by Willy Barclay and solid bass by Willy Thorne.

The song continues bluesy but still very psychedelic, when Jean Pierre Magnet starts with his flute, the Tull sound is even more evident, the atmosphere is a mixture of blues with Prog' and a Latin sound all blended gently and efficiently, great song, extraordinaire changes, being the star Mr. Jean Pierre Magnet who is absolutely brilliant with the flute and saxophone.

"Those Days are Gone" starts with a compassed piano, perfectly supported by Freddy Rizo Patron in the rhythm guitar and vocals again similar to Ian Anderson (Well, in this case it's only a matter of vocal range), the flute style in this track is sweeter and softer than in the previous song and orients the track towards a jazzy finale, again leaded incredibly by Mr. Magnet in the flute and piano by Willy Thorne.

Yesterday's Game is a typical Traffic Sound track, absolutely in the line of British Psychedelia but with a unique Latin sound provided by the percussion probably played by the vocalist Manuel Sanguinetti, simple but effective choirs and solid drumming by Luis Nervaez.

"America" is softer than all the previous tracks, starts with acoustic guitar and distorted vocals; again (not a surprise) Jean Pierre Magnet does an excellent job with the flute perfectly supported by an extremely beautiful piano by Willy Thorne. The perfect addition for this song is the weird Hindu atmosphere perfectly crafted by the band. The performance is excellent but the song is the weaker at this point, still not bad at all.

"What You Need and What You Want" starts almost exactly to "Locomotive Breath" what reinforces my opinion that any similarity must be casual, because "Traffic Sound" was released one year before "Aqualung" so it's impossible that they have copied this section from JETHRO TULL, if you have the chance to listen it you'll notice that is almost identical.

If you have ever heard OSIBISA, you can imagine how the atmosphere of this strange track develops after the mysterious start, almost like a mixture of Santana and Cream but with an Afro Peruvian sound created by congas and vibraphone with a touch of hard rock in the vein of Uriah Heep, again strong guitar and vocals, less Progressive than all the previous but very strong and energetic. In this case I mention all the bands as a reference for the reader who never heard this obscure band but in no case try to copy any of them it's just their natural sound.

The name of this song "Chicama" is a symbol for surfers all around the world; some people say it's the most perfect wave anywhere, so anybody could expect a surf song similar to anything by The Beach Boys...Nothing so distant to reality, the song is pristine Latin Psychedelia, with a fabulous Saxophone that creates a jazzy sound complementing the Motown like guitars and Latin percussion, the song ends as it began but after an incredible piano, flute and vocals extravaganza with the guitars now playing in Hendrix style, wonderful experiment.

"You Got to Pay" is a classic Acid Psychedelia track, with all the elements that made of this genre the most hallucinating, strong guitars a la Hendrix, fast drumming and even sections in which the vocals are played backwards and at a different speed, this is what early experimentation represents, wonderful and absolutely advanced for any Latin band in the late 60's.

Before the vocals any person could believe "Got to be Sure" is a Jethro Tull song, but again I insist this is not influence, only similar styles by two bands that started in the same year and develop simultaneously until TRAFFIC SOUND sadly disappears, with a very beautiful and fast acoustic guitar is a short but powerful track.

The album ends with a short but beautiful piano solo called Empty, simple and ideal to calm the spirits after such frantic blending of sounds, very classical.

I won't go as far as the reviewers from another well respected Progressive web page that considers the band and especially this album in the same level as Jethro Tull, Focus and many sacred cows, but the fact is that TRAFFIC SOUND was really close to them.

Being absolutely honest and impartial I can't rate such wonderful mixture of sounds and style done in an absolutely skillful way with less than 5 stars, so let it be, they deserve this rating, if you don't believe me, check any online auction site and you won't believe the prizes that this album has reached.

I'm absolutely sure that if this guys would have made their career in UK or USA they would have the status of legends and probably would be still playing together instead of practicing their careers.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 5/5 |


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