[ SHORT REVIEWS | DETAILED REVIEWS
(59:34 / Luna Negra & Musea Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Bagdad 7:54 2. A Reason to Believe 5:33 3. Late at Night 4:08 4. Bright Light 7:41 5. Lullaby 11:30 6. Clouds 7:54 7. Now & Forever 7:05 8. Echoes 7:41 LINEUP: Fidel Vasquez - guitars; programming David Conillera - keyboards Xiscu Lopez - vocals David Saez - drums Jordi Planas - bass
Prolusion. The press kit is very sparing in information, just saying NEGUA hail from Spain and that "A Way Out" is their new CD. Even though the band's website is in their native language, it's clear this is their only release to date.
Analysis. The CD is made up of eight tracks, all containing lyrical content. The opening one, the largely instrumental Bagdad, is a polymorphous creation where the music evolves almost constantly, rushing for the most part like a mountain river, full of dangers, sudden turns and so on. Only the four short vocal-based themes, gathered together not long before the piece's finale, consist of relatively quiet and, at the same time, transparent arrangements, all of which however are still impressive, partly due to the excellent jazz-tinged piano crossing the length and breadth of the vocal lines. The music is original from beginning to end, even though the style is instantly recognizable as a cross between classic symphonic Art-Rock and progressive Doom Metal with a rather strong '70s vibe, the keyboards (namely organ, piano and synthesizer which often resembles Moog in sound) being main providers of the vintage aura. Having been deeply impressed with the first track, I expected my listening pleasure to be continued, but the next three numbers poured cold water on my assumptions. Resembling emasculated versions of something halfway between Marillion's Holidays in Eden and Rush's Test for Echo, A Reason to Believe and Bright Light are both kind of alternative rockers and are as straight, vocal-heavy and repetitive all alike as the ballad Late at Night which, though, is a bit more attractive, due to the presence of rich string arrangements. The remaining / last four tracks, Lullaby, Clouds, Now & Forever and Echoes, all turn out to be much better, but nevertheless Negua don't even approach the level they've demonstrated on Bagdad (which therefore comes across almost as the creation of a different band). Covering about two thirds of the recording, all these have much in common between them, alternating Rush-patterned Prog-Metal with what should probably be regarded as quasi Art-Rock, their makers now imitating the legendary Canadians, now playing in a style which is completely their own.
Conclusion. On their first brainchild where genuine Progressive adjoins mainstream Rock, Negua appear to be a kind of band of three different faces, thus showing that the process of their style's formation still isn't finished. That being said, the debut syndrome pursues the musicians everywhere on the album, since they go from one extreme to another, not hesitating to use others' ideas while being capable of playing truly original music. I am inclined to think the opening number is their most recent creation, but whether it's really so or not, Bagdad indicates Negua possess a gigantic potential both as composers and players. If they do not rely on any outside factors (the notorious demands of the times included) in their subsequent work and keep the course they've set on that amazing composition (which is, so to say, commercially strong as well), their creative future should be bright in all senses.
VM: Agst 13, 2007
[ SHORT REVIEWS | DETAILED REVIEWS - LIST | BANDLISTS ]