On the Internet I stumbled upon a lot of euphoric words about the Spanish band Cheeto's Magazine, so I decided to search for their music, I easily found the entire album. During my first listening session I became more and more impressed, what a stunning sound, what outstanding musicians, and what a dynamic and varied compositions!
From the first track Chili Guillermo to the final, epic composition Big Boy you will be flooded by cascades of shifting moods, surprising breaks, excellent solos, and musical ideas. The 8 songs contain a lot of music that alternates between Heavy Prog, Prog Metal and AOR, featuring bombastic keyboards and lots of heavy guitar, from metallic riffs to biting wah wah. The one moment it sounds like Styx (Mini Moog flights) or Kansas (Hammond organ runs), the other moment like a kind of Spocks's Beard on steroids, very dynamic and exciting. But this Spanish band is not satisfied by making Old School Heavy Prog or Eighties AOR. Because a lot of the tracks contain surprising elements that can be considered as tongue-in-cheek musical ideas. Like the swinging rhythm with a Latin-American touch and Kiss-like lyrics (Get Up And Dancing All Night Long) in Outflow. And the funny atmosphere in Cheese Cheater reminds me of Frank Zappa. And in Close Your Eyes the music is between AOR, salsa and symphonic rock, featuring Boy George-like vocals that emphasizes the tongue-in-cheek attitude. Also, you hear a lot of parody on the short track A.W.K.W.A.R.D.. with a funky bass, bombastic outbursts and vocals evoking somewhere between Madonna and Michal Jackson, a fascinating contrast with the sumptuous prog outbursts!
The magnum opus on this CD is the final compositions Big Boy. It starts with a funny voice in Spanish (the only moment I was aware of listening to a Spanish band), then multiple changes of climates, very impressive but also very quirky: from a catchy beat and bombastic outbursts to dreamy parts, embellished with sparkling piano, classical orchestrations, fat synthesizer flights and heavy guitar work. Bands like Kansas, Styx and Ayreon come to my mind, but at other moments it's pure pop, in a parody way, again that tongue-in-cheek.
What a fresh and adventurous prog, and the humorous element is an extra dimension, but you have to like the quirky sound.
**** Erik Neuteboom (edited by Dave Smith)
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