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Banda Do Sol: Tempo

BANDA DO SOL is a Brazilian progressive rock band formed back in the 1980s. The self-titled first album was released in 1984 on vinyl and it's considered a "cult" work today" (, 2011).

"Tempo" brings together the band once more with music that spans the decades in between, produced by Billy Sherwood, (Yes/Circa). Sherwood and Banda Do Sol celebrated the release of the new album with a two part concert at Brazil's "Concerto Rock Sinfônico", featuring Sorocaba's Symphonic Orchestra along with Banda Do Sol, in the first set, and a set of classic Yes, Toto, Yoso, CIRCA and Conspiracy songs with Sherwood as the second act. Attendance was over 7 thousand.

The band is made up of Moacir Jr., on vocals, guitar, flute, and he's also the primary song writer and lyricist; Allex Bessa, on keyboards; Fran Simi, on guitar; Fabio Fernandez, on drums; and Cesinha Rodrigues, on bass.

This is one of the best albums of the year. It took me right back to the feeling I had for one of my favorite albums of last year Anima Mundi's "The Way". It will definitely be amongst my top ten albums of the year.

Track Listing:

1. Som Do Sol – "The sound of the sun". This track bursts open like the sun coming up over Copacabana. The sun drenched and soaring guitar, solid bass keeping rhythm, and power drums pack a solid punch making this the perfect album opener. The vocals are excellent and nothing is missing in the great guitar soloing that ensues through the middle of the track. The piano and keys keep pace providing highlights in between the guitar chords.

2. Voar – "Fly"…or for me to soar! But it opens with what sounds like that famous Pink Floyd bass and guitar "Run Like Hell" opening, which adds perfectly to the flavor. But the keyboards cut in before you get too comfortable comparing the two songs. The bass and guitar then morph into a Yes', "The Wurm" romp before taking off with soaring guitars on their own…with the echo of the opening spinning in the background. Moacir Jr provides the vocals that take you to another short guitar extravaganza. Rodrigues' bass is ever – present, filling the Chris Squire roll perfectly. The soaring guitar work is excellent providing a feeling of weightlessness and flight.

3. Quem Eu Sou – Literally, "Who I am". By the end of the song, you will know these guys trace their musical roots back to where it all began in Liverpool. A wonderful sympathetic opening on acoustic guitar, flute, with keys, reminiscent of some of the best from the Fab Four. Easily one of the best tracks on the album, simply for the journey back… soaring guitar that takes you back, because "…in the end...the love you take is equal to the love you make".

4. Yes Blues – Opens with big, bold piano, before the launching guitar, heavy bass, and the drums join in. Is it a Yes or Beatles influenced song? The title might take you in the direction of the Beatles, but the keyboards will bring you back to Yes, with Portuguese lyrics to add to the variety.

5. Praca Da Paz – "Peace Square". This track opens with an excellent piano piece that will bring to mind the opening from Queen's "Death on Two Legs", before they take it in another direction with drums and heavy bass. The piano continues to roll with launching electric guitar chords filling the space between, bringing back so many memories. Moacir Jr's vocals match the power and majesty of the moment as the song climbs higher and higher with each section. The instrumentation behind the band really helps make this another of the grandest pieces on the album.

6. Tempo – the title and longest track begins with cool synth and keyboard effects that drift off into a dreamland of "…And Then There Were Three…" magic before pulling back and glistening, like rain upon the windowsill of a partly sunny day. At over 10 minutes, there is plenty of excellent musicianship to enjoy. Full of sonic guitar, bass, and surrounding keys a plenty. The ocean waves, seagulls and guitars mixed well with an emotional upsurge that only helps make this one of the best songs of the year. A very cool tempo to be sure. The chorus singing at the end seals a perfect close.

7. Fabito is a jazzy song filled with excellent guitar, keys, and that ever present bass. This one actually is full of many different grooves. The piano work complements the power bass and chords that rock along with those pounding drums. Another standout amongst an album of hits.

8. Maya opens with beautiful piano before a pulsating drum beat takes over and drives the rhythm harder. A bouncy song full of vocals with a Marillion's "Incommunicado" pace and melody, until it slows down just past 2:40 minutes to full on keyboards that just blow you back and make you think you just transitioned into another song. One of the best keyboard moments on the entire album. The guitar solo that plays in between the keynotes is not too shabby either. Then it's full on keyboards and guitar with the bass and drums keeping pace. Bet this is a lot of fun to watch and play live.

9. Sinal Da Liberdade – "Sign of Freedom", is the best song on the album for me. That sitar and tempura just helps take this one over the top. Like a morning opening up with the sun, this one, with the assistance of the flute, is simply amazing. Then it drifts slowly on a breeze or slow river current as the tablas and timbales accompany the rhythm. The keys, guitars, bass, and heavier drums join in as the spirit and power build. But that foundational beginning has already captured your senses, the rest of the song just pushes the emotions over the edge. Moacir Jr's vocals, always full of inspiration, reach out to even loftier heights as those Yes' like keys just drift higher and higher.

10. Javanatar is a beautiful piano solo, to close the album that will just take your breath away.

The following two tracks are bonus live tracks included on the CD:

11. Prana will take you back to early Yes. The solo soaring guitar opening with orchestration supporting is simply spellbinding. The keys that follow help lift the production even higher. Moacir Jr's vocals fill the space majestically.

12. Mahavishnu flows straight from the last track with solid drums, bass, keys, and that soaring guitar taking you into orbit again. The guitar work here is some of the best on the album. A wonderful bonus on an album already filled with excellent music.

Added: November 22nd 2011
Reviewer: Mark Johnson
Related Link: Banda Do Sol
Hits: 1379
Language: english

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