The Flying Caravan – I Just Wanna Break Even

Posted 280121

 

Review by Erik Neuteboom

 

The musical brainchild of this Spanish prog project is guitar player Antonio Valiente, since 2000 he joined several bands, and he was a member of interesting Spanish prog band Numen. Since 2014 Antonio has worked on The Flying Caravan, turning his new muscial project into a five piece formation. On the debut 2-CD I Just Wanna Break Even he has invited guest musicans on saxophone, flute and vocals.

From the very first moment I am delighted about this 2-CD debut album, performed by outstanding musicians. The first two compositions on CD-1 deliver swinging rhythms, fuelled by a powerful and dynamic rhythm section. Get Real is coloured with a distorted funky electric piano sound and delicate Hammond and synthesizer work,  halfway a break with rock guitar and a swirling Hammond solo, and finally a jazzrock inspired guitar solo. The other one The Flying Caravan contains a more bombastic sound featuring flashy Minimoog flights and pleasant female vocals. Next  the mellow song Upstream To Manonash featuring a slow rhythm, dreamy synthesizer work and vocals, and a long, sensitive electric guitar solo, with soaring Hammond organ waves. I am in the mood, this band knows how to please a proghead. The folllowing track is Love´s Labour Mislaid, it starts dreamy with twanging guitar, soaring strings and high pitched vocals, halfway the mighty Hammond organ joins the emotional, a bit fragile female vocals, and finally a mid-tempo with propulsive drum beats and a strong Minimoog solo. The final composition on CD-1 is the epic, funny titled The Bumpy Road To Knowledge (close to 17 minutes). After the sound of thunder soaring strings and howling guitar take over, simply wonderful. Then an interlude with the distinctive sound of the Hammond with tremolo, soon joined by spacey pitchbend driven Minimoog flights (Minimoog wizard Manfred Mann comes to my mind). The music turns into a slow rhythm with dreamy vocals,  halfway a moving guitar solo, embellished with Hammond. In the long final part first cheerful Minimoog flights, then a jazzy saxophone solo and fiery guitar leads, a strong conclusion of a long but tastefully arranged track.

CD-2 contains two epic compositions. First the magnum opus entitled A Fairy For Grown-Ups, divided into seven parts. The melodic and harmonic music shifts frequenlty, from mellow to a swinging rhythm, from dreamy to mid-tempo, or a break with powerful bass and a Fender piano sound. The sound is embellished with swinging electric piano, inventive drum – and bass work, Minimoog flights (echoes from Styx), varied electric guitar (from sensitive to fiery), and pleasant female vocals. Despite the very long running time (36 minutes!) The Flying Caravan never fails to keep my attention. The other long track is an alternative version of The Bumpy Road To Knowledge, the main difference is no saxophone but sparkling work on the flute.

For me Flying Caravan is a strong example of the pretty underrated world of Spanish progressive rock, highly recommened, I am curious to the development of this interesting new band with its huge potential.