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 In the Land of Grey and Pink

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PostSubject: In the Land of Grey and Pink   Fri Jan 07, 2011 11:56 am

[SIZE="5"]In the Land of Grey and Pink[/SIZE]
[SIZE="4"](Deram 1971)[/SIZE]

[SIZE="3"]1. Golf girl
2. Winter wine
3. Love to love you (and tonight pigs will fly)
4. In the land of grey and pink
5. Nine feet underground:[/SIZE]
[SIZE="2"]- Nigel blows a tune
- Love's a friend
- Make it 76
- Dance of the seven paper hankies
- Hold grandad by the nose
- Honest I did!
- Disassociation
- 100% proof[/SIZE]

This may or may not be Caravan's finest hour and it is indeed regarded as such among the general fanbase. I have to admit that I have an ever so tiny issue with it that prevents me from subscribing to that statement, but it is by far their greatest effort up until then and a lot of the mistakes on "If I could..." are corrected on here. Five tracks, all of which rule in one way or another, and all of which paints a colourful picture of a land far away where people play golf, drink wine and watch pigs fly while avoiding pink hippopotamuses. Swell, eh?

It all starts rather homely, with "Golf girl" depicting a victorian backdrop, not unlike what Ray Davies was preoccupied with on "Village green", with the protagonist's encounter with a golf girl selling cups of tea. A rather silly sitting-in-a-tree kind of story that nonetheless fully manages to capture the laid back sunny afternoon atmosphere. In that respect I give it two thumbs up, but as a song I feel the melody is rather tentative and even if it is a slight improvement over "If I could...", I still feel that their early brand of quirky pop is not that great at the end of the day. Maybe it's the trumpet; I played it as a child and it may have resulted in mental scars which I cannot disregard.

The other two tracks in the same vein, "Love to love you" and "In the land of grey and pink" works better. The first one succeeds completely in its bouncy Beatlesque melody and shows Pye in the process of becoming a true popmeister. The title track is in the same style as "Golf girl" but with a better melody that doesn't seem as forced. The atmosphere has more of a grey (no kidding) and wintery touch and I can't help but feel a slight scent of burning firewood from it. It's really cozy and nice. That feeling is effectively carried over from one of the more epic tracks on the album, "Winter wine" with an even more vivid frosty atmosphere. Never have I encountered such a beautiful ode to beverage-induced escapism during wintertime. I am a swede, I can relate! Please let me relate! It's simply one of Caravan's best songs ever, with its driving pace and romantic mood, underlined by the subtle climaxes concluding each verse. Simply breathtaking. Cheers!

After all this, we're still left with their second attempt at creating a true epic, and might I say they learned their lesson and studied hard for this exam! First of all it incorporates a couple of sung passages this time around, both of which rank among the most gorgeous moments on the album, especially the tear-jerking "Disassociation". But even the instrumental passages, and there's a lot of them, are well thought over this time from the very beginning. With no further ado they crash into one of the main themes, once again organ-driven, stretching out in a terrain of intelligent chord changes not just conjured out of the air, spiced with inspired soloing from various instruments. Well, I won't go over every passage here, but let me sum things up with saying that it is very intelligently put together with actual melodies succeeding one another, in contrast to its elder brother "For Richard", and even if it still has its amounts of noodling it has to be ranked as one of their better epics.

So, do indulge! They would never become as consistent in concept-making as on this record.

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