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Backstreet Romeos - Flight To Metaluna CD (album) cover


Backstreet Romeos


Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.97 | 3 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars Once you see the cover of the record, a forest of giant mushrooms with a great lisergic smell, you can imagine that you are going to listen to one of those weird and crazy space rock records that often come from Germany. BACKSTREET ROMEOS´ keyboardist Michael Altenberger describes the record as a psych-rock-art album, and it could not be more certain. This is not a typical spacey rock full of jams and plenty of atmospheric soundscapes, but rather full of well composed songs, including a suite in four movements, "Pandora´s Box". It is, in fact, a very retro record, highly inspired in the music of the 70´s, including some funky sketches and a high devotion for oriental music.

The record starts with "Schizoid Impressions". After a noisy intro including animal sounds, it developes into a spacey section that reminds me a lot of Pink Floyd (Meedle and Wish You Were Here), with a great moog solo included, ending in a light jazzy mood. Very interesting point of start.

Unfortunately, the second song does not reach that level."Plastic Human" is a catchy funky tune, reminding me of Zappa and Herbie Hancock, but also other retro bands like Mushroom. Funny, but not really interesting.

It all changes after the first chords of "Sunrise in Goa": the moog intro leads to the main section, quite similar to Eloy or Steve Hillage, including a great guitar solo.After this energetic start, the song changes into a sitar developed section, very in the Krautrock vein (Ashra comes to mind easily). This oriental sounds will appear more often from this time, giving a different smell to the record. After this flight, the song returns to the main theme on guitar, for a Camel inspired ending.

The musical level increases with "Bhagavad Gita". After a delightful vocal chorus intro in which the smell of incense returns and you listen to the mantras accelerating step by step. Indo-canterbury? It wouldn´t fit better, as if it was Popol Vuh playing rock or Hatfield and the North discovering India. All this musical passages keep growing along with the vocals for a spacey end, with guitar soloing in front of atmospheric keyboards. By the time you have reached this moment of the record, you realize the great devotion they have for oriental music and culture, but also that the level of virtuosity and musicianship is high above the median on the genre. And the best is still to come.

"Walking with the Wind" is a psychotropic adventure about a fantastic world in which magicians turn fallen leaves into hallucinogen mushrooms, and the parties the inhabitants of the forest do with them, despite the opposition of local authorities. Crazyness and a lot of humour in a song in which music and lyrics are absolutely related. The vocal intro leads into a guitar crescendo very reminding of Steve Hillage, and atmospheric keyboards that fullfill the whole picture. Incredible music and one of the peaks of the record.

As happened before, the level is not maintained on the next song. "Romeos Aquarius" is another pop- funky song with nothing special but the guitar end, in the vein of the most guitar oriented cantebury, with a slight Gong resemblance.

But the musical level will be quickly reached and surpassed again with "Pandora´s Box", the masterpiece of the record, an 18 minutes suite in four movements in which all the musicians will give their best. It starts with piano and keyboards, very reminding of early Genesis or even Rick Wakeman. The main theme leads to a keyboard solo reminding Grobschnitt, but a bit more accelerated. It turns into a spacey keyboard section, in the vein of Steve Roach or Djam Karet in "Suspension and Displacement" (or even Thomas Bodin when he plays soundscapes), that later on twists into a spacey jazz section that reminds me a lot of Hawkwind´s "Space Ritual", before returning to the main theme. "Holes", the final section of the suite, returns to the more symphonic sounds, with an epic final close to Genesis or Van der Graaf Generator.

So then, I consider "Flight to Metaluna" a very interesting record, despite the music being so linked to the 70´s. The great balance between psych, symphonic and oriental music makes this record very enjoyable, very far from long jams and soundscapes that often bring you boredom.

I would rate it as a 4 star record. It is not a 5 star record because the music is not really a novelty and there are some downs on the record (mainly "Plastic Human" and "Romeos Aquarius") and the production is not really good (remember it is a self produced record), but it is more than 3 stars because of the high level of virtusosity and composition displayed, that makes worth a listen. You only have to follow the flight instructions: turn the lights low, play it loud and share with your next.

victor77 | 4/5 |


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