Album Review: Carmen- The Albums

Aaron ConnMusic, ReviewsLeave a Comment

Carmen The Albums

Carmen The AlbumsNow almost halfway into the year of 2024, Cherry Red Records have released yet another box set. Their label, Esoteric, have released a three disc set devoted to the career of progressive rock band Carmen. Featuring all three of the band’s albums, it serves as the ultimate introduction to the band’s work.

A Little History
carmen band pictureWhile formed in the US, Carmen would end up finding success in the UK. Carmen were different from other progressive rock bands given that their music featured flamenco guitar. The band also incorporated elements of Mexican music into their sound, with some band members dancing during live performances. This footwork was even carried through on the albums, all of which were produced by Tony Visconti. For all three albums, the band consisted of singer Roberto Amaral, guitarist David Clark Allen, bassist John Glascock, drummer Paul Fenton and keyboardist Angela Allen.

Given that this is a set of three albums, this review will go from album to album.

 

Fandangos In Space (1973)
fandangos in spaceIf you must listen to one Carmen album, make it Fandangos In Space: it’s production is splendid and the prog rock/flamenco crossover is mindblowing. It’s insane that this album doesn’t get talked about as much as other prog rock classics from the same time period. Featuring strong vocals and top notch guitar riffs, this is a fun album from start to finish.


Dancing on a Cold Wind (1974)

carmen dancing on a cold windWhile not as good as their debut, Dancing on a Cold Wind has some solid tunes on it. The first side of the album is almost a continuation of Fandangos while the second side is a taken up by the epic Remembrances suite. Clocking in at 21 minutes and consisting of nine parts, the suite seems to tell the tale of a prostitute that becomes a dancer.

The Gypsies (1975)

carmen gypsiesBy the third album, Carmen seemed to be running out of ideas. Even then, their last album is another decent effort. As a whole, it’s mostly a retread of what’s been on the previous two albums. Still, there’s some nice turns once in a while, with the band sounding slightly funkier and the production having more of an echo.

 

Conclusion
Along with the three albums, there are several bonus tracks and a booklet with new liner notes. While the liner notes seem to come from one interviewee in David Clark Allen, it gives a good overview of the band’s career.

As for the overall set, Carmen: The Albums is a solid batch of albums with the extras that one can expect from Cherry Red. If you’re new to the band, look no further: get this set.

Overall rating: 7/10

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Aaron ConnAlbum Review: Carmen- The Albums