Barrock - Barrock - 1999
I hope our foreign friends will understand that if we have the opportunity to review the work by a Spanish band we are specially happy, precisely for that reason, for the small number of progressive bands in Spain. If also these bands have the quality of Barrock, our happiness is double. Barrock is a Catalan quartet formed by Cèsar Angües (keyboards), Carles Melgarejo (guitar, bass and vocals), Albert Ferrer (drums and vocals) and Xavier Prayed (guitar, bass and vocals), with the special collaboration from Pep Solórzano playing the "slide" and the acoustic guitar. What kind of music do they play?, well I particularly would classify it as heiress of the stage Signals-Hold Your Fire of the unequalled Rush. And will you wonder (and with reason) other Rush-clones?. No way. I believe that I understand a little of the Canadians music and I have had the opportunity to listen to infinity of clone bands (Wings of Steel or Tiles, to give an example) whose bigger aspiration is to change rhythm like Peart, to take out impossible guitar riffs as Lifeson does, or to mistreat the bass trying to emulate to the unemulateable Geddy Lee. Barrock doesn't seek that, since after its undeniable love for Rush, Barrock´s music hides an own personality, which is translated in that, besides decanting for the less progressive stage of the Canadians, they sing in Catalan language, a way not very commercial but sincere.
The CD begins with "Intolerància" (4:44), very pleasant and direct, trying to conjugate melody with technique, voices bent in the chorus, and a great work of keyboards and exquisite guitar. "Fonts in els Ulls" (3:36) follows the line traced with the first track, apparent commercial but hiding instrumental developments uncapable for beginners. "If hi has res" (5:13) it is the most direct debt with Rush of the whole disk; if we erased the vocal parts and we included the music in "Power Windows", anything would not sing out of tune. The fact is that Barrock makes seemingly easy the difficult thing, without excesses, and that is appreciated in these times of instrumental saturations. If you think that the tracks is simple, I recommend you to listen to it in a discman. "Presoner" (4:20) is a more calm track, with a guitar melody that reminds me vaguely to Clapton´s "Wonderful Tonight" and a general tone between the hardly urban and delightful melodic (what a guitar solo! What a piano!). A typical keyboard and a guitar riff a la 2112 introduce us in "Esperit of Contradicció" (4:41), a hard rock moment of the CD, perhaps a little boring in the sung moments, although the instrumental part of the half allows us to see the quality of the guitar, passing from the dissonance to the melody with extraordinary easiness. "Ones" (4:59) is another of those moments of tranquility, with a notable work of the acoustic guitars and another beautiful electric guitar solo. Very beautiful and very pleasant. The electricity returns with "Oblidar-ho Tot" (4:33), a composition of apparent pop texture but keyboards´solo and (again) the guitar makes us remember that what we are listening is really kind of a "Time Stand Still" in a catalán way. "Miranda" (5:53) is like "Si hi has res", a la Rush, a lot of technique and very good song. Another moment of tranquility arrives with "Quam em Diguis que no" (2:13), short but with a lot of juice and that, I believe, mediterranean a lot of jazz run along its notes. The longest track in the CD, there is "Pensat in tu" (6:02) it recreates the ghost Rush again and it is another example that the instrumental parts can compete with the Rush 80´s. Barrock has its particular "YYZ" in form of "Qüestió d´equilibri", ideal vehicle to demonstrate us all their instrumental potential.
In summary. These boys in fact have to favor what others have in against. Barrock is, in my oppinion, the group that I have listened in my life that better they have known how to accept its influences without forcing, and creating an own personality. The only black point maybe the cover, much nearer to the Spanish urban rock that to a progressive band. As this is a progressive rock e-zine and isn´t a design one, those doesn´t matter. In what we care, the music, a notable and all our spirit and support. If you like the 80´s Rush era, this CD should be in your CD collection.