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Pinturas y Expresiones

Agnus

℗ 1980

℗ 2010 barin.livejournal.com BR LLF 82425

Agnus • 1980 • Pinturas y Expresiones

Following in the footsteps of classic Argentinian folk-prog groups like MIA and Espiritu, Agnus was a huge ensemble (with - notably for any prog band - more women than men in the lineup) that released a single album in 1980, their only official release that culminated a career lasting seven or eight years. Pinturas y Expresiones is an intriguing meshing of styles, led by beautiful harmonized vocals and flute playing that remind most clearly of early-70s Italian prog a la PFM, but also including quite a bit of spacy fuzz guitar that harken to folky psych-prog groups like the Basque Lisker.

The first three tracks range from 10-15 minutes and are all somewhat similar, combining lengthy Floydian passages with more folk-influenced sections highlighting imaginative vocal harmonies and arrangements. There is a predominance of female vocals and flute, both used judiciously and performed flawlessly. The compositions themselves flow very nicely; there are a few jarring cuts here and there (such as the ending of "Siglo XXI," which is rather abrupt), but for the most part they are excellent, logical and well-constructed. The final, shorter track is a bit different: a guest musician on violin changes the band's sound considerably, and the composition is much more traditionally folky, with symphonic prog tropes taking a back seat to bouncy melodic vocal sections.

Though saddled with a somewhat anonymous rhythm section and working in an idiom that had become culturally irrelevant by the time of this album's release, Pinturas y Expresiones is actually one of my favorite South American progressive rock albums. It's accessible, inspired, and if it's not the most original or groundbreaking piece of work, it's a polished and, above all, fun effort that internalizes the innovations of a broad range of English, Italian, and South American progressive rock groups over the years.

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