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Caravela Escarlate — III
(Karisma KAR, 2023, CD / LP / DL)

by Jon Davis, Published 2023-05-19

III Cover art

The Rio de Janeiro band Caravela Escarlate is back with their third album of keyboard-dominated progressive rock. Their 2019 self-titled album was, somewhat confusingly, their second, and they’ve called this one III. There is no number two. In any case, these seven tracks should do the trick for any listeners who enjoy the sound of vintage keyboards in an energetic progressive context. In some ways their style reminds me of what might have happened if Emerson Lake & Palmer had listened to a bunch of Le Orme and Museo Rosenbach in 1975 and soaked up some of the Italian melodicism. Jove David Paiva (bass, vocals), Elcio Cáfaro (drums), and Ronaldo Rodrigues (keyboards) are all stellar musicians, but honestly it’s the quality of their compositions and arrangements that puts Caravela Escarlate above most other bands that operate in this classic 70s mode. Hammond organ is the most common lead instrument, but there are enough parts for synthesizers, clavinet, electric piano, and even Mellotron to make keyboard junkies drool. Only two of the seven tracks are completely instrumental, but the singing certainly comprises a smaller portion of the time than the playing. Paiva’s bass has a prominent Chris Squire tone (yes, he plays a Rickenbacker) that drives the energy level up, and Cáfaro is a fine drummer who blends power with great feel. The album’s production is outstanding, with a very natural, live sound, and the arrangements aren’t overly cluttered, so everything is crystal clear. You can tell that the band could reproduce this music almost exactly in a live setting. Highly recommended for fans of old-school prog.

Filed under: New releases, 2023 releases

Related artist(s): Caravela Escarlate

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