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Caravan: The Unauthorised Breakfast Item

If you know Caravan's music, you'll love this album. It contains everything that made the band a perennial favorite.

If you don't know Caravan you ought to! Regardless of your music preferences, anyone can enjoy this music and most will love it.

The Unauthorised (note the English spelling) Breakfast Item is Caravan's first studio album in seven years and probably their best in over two decades. The band's thirty five years in the music business have culminated in an elegant and sophisticated body of work with universal appeal. The style is distinctively Cantebury and somewhat old-world although the relaxed but near-perfect delivery and the stellar production will leave you in no doubt that this is all-new. Pye Hastings's songwriting skills and gentle vocals are the dominant element, but listen for Doug Boyle's excellent guitar work and Jan Schelhaas's omnipresent keyboards which are tastefully held way back in the mix. Production, incidentally, was by Pye's son Julian.

It's hard to pick a standout track, but the 9-minute "Nowhere To Hide" deserves special mention. This is Dave Sinclair's writing contribution and recalls Caravan's most creative efforts during the emergence of the Cantebury movement. It is a 9-minute bluesey, mostly instrumental keyboard dominated piece that will have you nodding your head and wondering why these guys weren't as big as Yes. That song flows into "Linders Field", one of the two truly excellent all-instrumental pieces. This was composed by guitarist Doug Boyle, and is an extremely elegant piece with wonderful piano sounds weaving lightly around a repeated guitar and soft bass loop.

Besides those instrumental cuts, this is refined, song-oriented pop-prog with mellow vocals, a jazzy tinge, simple rhythms and pleasing melodies. But there is an underlying complexity that speaks to all of the progressive and symphonic elements you'd expect from one of the pioneers of the genre. And Caravan adds wonderful textures with the restrained use of generous range of instruments including viola, banjo, ukelele, saxophones and flute.

Caravan is an old band with new songs played in the old style. But old or new, they will bring a smile to the face. They just will it's that kind of music.

Track listing:
CD One

1. Smoking gun (right for me) (5:36)
2. Revenge (5:15)
3. The unauthorised breakfast item (4:44)
4. Tell me why (6:16)
5. It's getting a whole lot better (8:56)
6. Head above the clouds (7:21)
7. Straight through the heart (4:40)
8. Wild west street (4:47)
9. Nowhere to hide (8:54)
10. Linders field (3:38)

CD Two
1. Smoking Gun (Right for Me)... Live in Japan (7:56)
2. The Unauthorised Breakfast Item... Live in Japan (6:16)
3. Tell Me Why... Live in Japan (5:45)
4. Revenge... Live in Japan (5:42)
5. For Richard... Live in Quebec City (14:22)

Added: August 31st 2004
Reviewer: Duncan Glenday
Related Link: More Information
Hits: 3978
Language: english

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