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Crack - Si Todo Hiciera Crack CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.09 | 105 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
4 stars Spain came late to the prog party due to Franco's iron grip on the nation until 1975 when artistic freedom was once again allowed to flourish. While a few bands like Triana, Canarios and Fusioon snuck out some progressive releases before the big change, most of the movement didn't start until 1976. One of the last vestiges of 70s Spanish prog came from the northern coastal city of Gijón by the symphonic prog group CRACK which consisted of Alex Cabral (bass), Alberto Fontaneda (guitar, flute, vocals), Mento Hevia (keyboards, vocals), Manolo Jiménez (drums) and Rafael Rodríguez (guitar). While the band released only one specimen with the odd title of SI TODO HICIERA CRACK (If Everything Made Crack), it has nonetheless gone down in history as one of the finest examples of Spanish prog often only behind Triana and Mezquita on best of lists.

Given the proximity not only geographically but in a linguistic sense, the Spanish progsters looked towards their Italian cousins for inspiration and found the warm romantic classically infused symphonic prog from the superstars such as PFM, Banco and Locanda Della Fate as their main inspiration for crafting their own belated contributions to the scene. In the case of CRACK, other influences range from the symphonic style of Genesis as well as a veritable Jethro Tull inspired inclusion of the flute. SI TODO HICIERA CRACK is very similar to the Italian greats in that it delivers an album's worth of lush melodic tracks that are rooted in classical piano music and augmented with rock bombast and folky acoustic guitar and flute placidity. Lyrics are sung in the Spanish language which is very similar sounding to Italian and the vocals display the same passionate operatic melodrama in perfect form. An uncredited female backing singer also adds a unique element missing from many Italian classics.

CRACK cranked out perhaps one of the most symphonic sounding albums in all of Spain with lush keyboards that range from classical arpeggios on piano to symphonic wizardry reminiscent of Keith Emerson. Despite the rather Italy meets England prog fusion, CRACK added touches of their Spanish ancestry but didn't go as far as bands like Triana that went all out and included flamenco. This is the type of prog that is instantly addictive and could be considered too pop oriented for many who prefer a more angular approach but despite the strong likable ear hooks, the passages are laced with off-kilter time signatures at various moments. The tracks are quite diverse and different movements take place within them without predictability. The dynamics and tempos parade around rather loosely and the variations on any given melody are quite creative displaying some jazz improvisation skills mixed into the tapestry of the symphonic elements.

While the band were dedicated to entire prog scene, the sad reality is that they were about five years too late and were but mere minnows swimming upstream of an ever growing raging waterfall as the musical world had moved on to a more post-punk and pop reality. The band broke up soon after due to many years of economic hardships that were suffered to bring this album to fruition. The band had every desire to carry on and were 100% committed to the symphonic prog paradigm that they deliver so well on this album but were realistic enough to understand that without public support they would receive no record company support and instead of dying in the process, aborted the project and moved on to other arenas. Despite the utter lack of interest at the time of its release, time has been kind to CRACK and their sole prog offering that squeaked by in 1979. This is indeed a lavishly produced product of its time that, like many other late to the party bands, found a way of unleashing a career's worth of ideas stuffed into a single album. This has stood the test of time for good reasons and it's obvious why this has only grown in popularity over the decades.

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |


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