Dr. No - El Bufó de la Cort - 2002
It’s always pleasant to talk about a good new progressive band.., or should I say a symphonic band?. Because, is there anyone who knows why both of the styles go together?, mainly in Spain. It is something that I’ve always asked to myself. We know what prog is, and we know what symphonic rock is. They’re both different, aren’t they?. In some way, it’s true that both of them go very close and sometimes mixed if we skim through their histories. In my opinion, progressive rock is not a style, it’s more a way of understanding music, an attitude towards music, and symphonic rock is based mainly on past influences and framed by a defined profile, less surprising.
Well, let’s try to come to the point and talk about something less tangled. Dr. No, are a truly surprise, an outstanding surprise, a symphonic or “neo-progressive” surprise, coming from Salou (maybe you heard about this touristic point in the north east coast of Spain). A group which we could define as the alter ego of one of the biggest prog fans in the south of Europe called Enric Pascual (don’t miss the interview also here in progVisions). A man able to create a project like this on his own and besides composing most of the material, playing drums, keyboards and lead voice… unbelievable. He’s a huge fan of Yes and also follower of the most typical seventies fashion. Enric has taken all this to the studio and using his great musical skills has devised a very nice work called "El Bufó de la Cort".
A sweet and emotive work filled with good sensations. A record workout nicely. An album that doesn’t stumble, walking firmly through the progressive moors. A very difficult field that has swallowed many groups trying to walk on it, making them disappear.
The band is formed by Enric Pascual (lead voice, drums, keys) por Conrad Dubé (bass, vocals), Pere Mestres (electric guitar), Raul Cid (keys, vocals) & Abel Benito (drums). A bunch of good musicians with different approaches trying to bolster it inside a progressive environment, and working on the influences of Genesis (Gabriel’s period), Marillion (Misplaced Childhood, Clutching at Straws) Camel (Stationary Traveller) also giving their own particular view. All the songs are in Catalan, and that’s something that has leaded them to take part in some important musical contests, with success among the critics and the audience, something unknown lately.
The record itself is colorful containing a nice range of different approaches to the symphonic rock world showing a very good feeling. “Arlequí (Acronicus Lonjimanus)” is the piece that opens the album with a soft keyboard introduction which heads for a happy and dynamic development. They show a great skill on mixing and constructing nice and at the same time difficult songs. A piece which somehow summarizes the musical intentions of the band that unconsciously take us to those past tunes of the eighties. “Un somni de paper” takes some other path with a slow melody combined with a good vocal work. “Canço d’Esperança” is a good example of how the simple structures converge with good arrangements making a brilliant piece. “No se el teu nom” is a bridge towards a more lyrical and romantic approach filled with sensitivity. “El fet diferencial” is one of those songs that breaks all the rules and which sometimes have a lot of success, all the big prog bands have it. It’s like a breath of fresh air that gets to the audience quickly. “Jardí de l’Eden” is a similar structure to “Canço d’esperança”. “Estació Pirenaica” is one of favorite (it should be longer, Enric), composed through a wonderful combination of keyboards and drums. The CD closes with which I think is the best piece, “El Bufó de la Cort”. A high quality symphonic exercise, with excellent lyrics. A development that takes several directions from the beginning taking their music to high places during a almost eleven-minute great song. A nice and brilliant end.
They are good and they have a different point of view. They want to success somehow trying to expose their work to as much people as they can and no matter what their likes are. They have a different approach. I’d like to put all my confidence on them to see what happens, maybe they finally reach the people with this record and “legalize” prog-rock or symphonic rock. We’ll see.