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(61:49, Banda Do Sol)
TRACK LIST: 1. Som Do Sol 3:50 2. Voar 7:35 3. Quem Eu Sou 4:00 4. Yes Blues 4:14 5. Praca Da Paz 4:04 6. Tempo 10:03 7. Fabito 4:24 8. Maya 6:40 9. Sinal Da Liberdade 7:42 10. Janavatar 1:33 11. Prana 3:30 12. Mahavishnu 4:14 LINEUP: Moacir Jr all vocals; guitars Cesar Rodrigues basses Fabio Fernandes drums Allex Bessa keyboards Fram Simi guitars With: Marcos Trinca tabla Johnny Murata sitar Jimmy Junoi harmonium
Prolusion. The Brazilian band BANDA DO SOL was formed back in 1980, and in a few hectic years they wrote, recorded and released an album's worth of material, as well as (presumably) being active in their local live scene. After a lengthy hiatus following their break-up in the mid 80's they returned again in 2010 with their second production "Tempo", released 30 years after their initial formation.
Analysis. There's been a fair few artists I have encountered over the years who explore a musical landscape similar to what Banda Do Sol does. Melodic and accessible music, mostly brief in length, with half a foot inside mainstream oriented rock, but with a firmament placed solidly inside the symphonic art rock realm, lightly flavored with elements of neo-progressive rock, probable influences in this particular case Camel and later day Pink Floyd. It is a slightly curious blend of styles explored on this disc, however. The songs tend to be light in tone and spirit, often reminding me of Camel's "Nude" actually, and the keyboards in particular often gave me associations to Latimer and company. And while the compositional structures at times are less elaborate than what one might desire from an art rock band, there's ample amounts of songs that do twist and turn as expected too. What might be more off-putting for some, and Camel fans in particular, is that Banda Do Sol often has a distinctly blues laced timbre to their songs. The dream-laden guitar soloing in particular provides bluesy vibes, and often the bass guitar emphasizes this subtle but distinct orientation. Blues-laden piano motifs are another trait that pops up on occasion, although the band is adventurous enough to utilize the tangents in rather different manners as well, like the spirited ragtime motif that appears on Fabito. Fans of later day Pink Floyd might recognize some elements from that band's most popular productions by way of plucked guitar details utilized to a fair degree throughout, but it is on the live bonus tracks that the relations to that band crystallize most profoundly: pieces generally darker in mood and spirit, dream-laden but with a darker, brooding undercurrent that may be taken as proof that this is a band more interesting on stage than off stage. "Tempo" is a fine release, no doubts about that, impeccable in performance and production, but perhaps ever so slightly lacking an edge to my ears: smooth and tight and distinctly melodic, but often without any contrasting elements of a subtle or not so subtle character. And those who enjoy dramatic effects and unexpected developments will not find too much to be pleased with either. This is a band that opts for the dampened atmospheres and careful details to cater for their listeners attention, elder statesmen of art rock performing for an audience demanding just that, perhaps because the musicians themselves finds it more interesting to explore the minute details rather than striving for innovation with capital letters. The aforementioned Fabito is one of the standout tracks for me for not adhering to that particular approach, the item with more of a fusion orientation that opens in a 70's tinged manner and then gradually develops towards a sound of a more contemporary nature, with plenty of room for dampened adventurous details to come and go along the way. Other highlights that deviate ever so slightly from the norm are Voar and Maya, standout efforts for incorporating that slight element of surprise and energy to the proceedings.
Conclusion. Accessible symphonic art rock with a subtle but distinct orientation towards a mainstream sound is what Banda Do Sol provides on their second disc "Tempo". Well made and well performed compositions that should find favor among fans of late 70's Camel and 80s Pink Floyd in general, and in particular among those fond of the mainstream oriented parts of the aforementioned bands repertoires.
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