Sometimes life is unfair. And if we talk about Bijou life is extremely unfair. If you´ve been reading the latest updates, you´ve noticed that we´ve reviewed lots of albums recorded by spanish bands (Psicotropia, Acid Rain, Amarok,...). Well, in my opinion the best one –or, at least the biggest surprise- is the album released by a band from Zamora named Bijou. They aren´t as experimental as Psicotropia and they haven´t the seniority of Amarok or Galadriel, but the band has lots of quality and originality and they deserve a bigger support and, of course, the trust of a label.
The history of this band, that plays a very melodic and instrumental progressive rock, is very bizarre. They decided to play a more elaborated music after two years searching for a singer. Supposedly “El profeta” is a conceptual album, but the band because of problems with the budget, had to give up some narrative and instrumental parts.
The band is formed by the guitar players Nacho Morán & Alvaro García, the bassist Alberto Mateos, Rubén García on keyboards, and Arturo González on drums.
The music we´ll find across the six tracks, with an average length of 6 minutes, and almost 25 minutes long of “El Profeta” suite could be labeled as instrumental neo-prog very varied and plenty of shades. Perhaps the best of all is that the band has its own personality and listening the album we won't find the same old influences (you know Pendragon, Marillion, Jadis, IQ). Maybe sometimes it reminds me of Twelfth Night with some 80´s Rush sketches.
The most positive thing is the versatility when playing long songs without boring the listener, although there are other tracks –a couple- where I noticed that the vocal lines have been supplied by instruments (“El Camino a Casa” (4:12)). Anyway Nacho and Alvaro´s guitars along with Rubén´s keyboards are the keys of great tracks such as “Los albores del fuego imperecedero” (6:33). We mustn't forget the rhythm section, mainly in the start of “Imakinación” (6:22), with a playful bass followed by the whole band exchanging all kind of instrumental flourishes. Another great moment, because of its changing structure, is “Triste Euforia” (8:48), with great keyboards. But the best track is the trilogy named “El Profeta” (24:03) and formed by “El Reino de la Nada” (5:54), “Recuerdos de Invierno” (8:20), and “En mi voz” (9:49), an unpredictable suite that breaks all preconceived ideas about what´s going to happen in the following minutes. A masterly lesson of composition and imagination.
The sound is very clear and the listener can perfectly distinguish each instrument. Of course this album hasn't been recorded with a high budget, so there are some light mistakes.
In short, from Zamora (not the most progressive land in the world) comes one of the best newcomers of the year. I hope justice will win and that “El Profeta” will be released soon. With vocals?… well, after having listened to this album, I´d let it as it is and I´d only add some production and extra arrangements.
And of course I´d change the artwork. There are too many covers with “eyes” (Psicotropia, Bijou, Pallas), and Douwe, webmaster and designer of progVisions, is going to ask money for his copyright.
You can get further info about Bijou at email@example.com. You won´t regret at all.