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Gardenia - Sidera Visus CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

2.27 | 3 ratings

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2 stars This is apparently the first release from this incredibly varied (and very good, to boot) band, released several years before any of their later work. With that information in mind, I have to say that I went into this release with rather low expectations. Gardenia's later material is so tight and so polished that I suppose I just assumed that they must have worked up to it, and so I was expecting something rather amateurish here. While this certainly isn't the work of a band at its peak, however, there's still some quality stuff on this very short EP.

The 16-second "Intro" provides a bit of background ambience before "Y en las mañanas" begins. I have to say that it is probably the weakest of the proper songs on this release. With obvious nods to Pink Floyd and some nice variation provided by folky as well as metal elements, it has a lot of promise but never really delivers on any of it, with its 2 and a half minute run-time proving far too short to develop fully the ideas the track presents.

Things get better with "Lida," which I think could have fit in passably well on Gardenia's excellent later releases. Starting off with a frenetic guitar part, "Lida" is for the most part a very psychedelic track with vocal melodies and harmonies that recall, of all people, Italian songwriter Lucio Battisti. I can hear a shade of Mars Volta influence as here as well, a trait that would grow far stronger on the group's further releases. "Lida" should provide the example of how short prog songs ought to be done, with a lot of far-reaching influences and sounds blended together very well in the scant space of under 3 minutes.

"Ganimedes" is another super-short track that just provides a bit of atmosphere before "Ciclamén" starts. Beginning with a bit of a Yes vibe, the track quickly veers into psychedelic territory, though there's brief snippets of metal thrown in as well. I can honestly even hear some similarities to the Beatles, though they're fairly fleeting. Overall, though, this is an excellent song that crams a lot of content into a very small amount of time without sounding forced.

However, despite the two very good songs here, Sidera Visus is absolutely outclassed by Gardenia's later releases. "Lida" and "Ganimedes" are good songs, but they certainly don't stick out any more than anything on Gardenia's later work. Additionally, at only 10 minutes, this EP can't compete with the later work from any kind of holistic standpoint, either. If you have a very small amount of time with which to check out new groups, this might be a good introduction, but otherwise there's not much reason to listen to this unless you're simply starving for Gardenia material. Fans/collectors only sounds about right.


VanVanVan | 2/5 |


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