Review by Glynn Wright
First off I’m a fan. No point hiding it. Having said that, the wait for this one was more nerve wracking than any wait over the last thirty years when bands you’d got into failed miserably with their eagerly anticipated follow-up. Eldorado’s previous efforts, “Golden” and “Anti-Gravity Sound Machine”, had easily cemented themselves into my all-time lists already so this was a nail biter. Panic over. For “Babylonia Haze” (and it’s Spanish language counterpart Karma Generator) Eldorado have wisely retained the services of Richard Chycki at the desk. Richard knows these boys of old and has helped them to create a much fuller and heavier sound than before. So firstly it’s hats off to RC.
If you’ve never heard Eldorado and you’re looking for a pigeon-hole for them then here it is. Self proclaimed New Vintage Rock. What’s that? Well it’s the very best modern rock music that a fresh and talented band can write dipped in a potent wash of sixties psychedelia and towering seventies power. Eldorado’s previous work has drawn from life experience – from years of creative writing and has been a journey of imagination. By their own admission, this one is darker. It’s grittier. A touring band’s album that was born on the road. A reflection of the way they now see this world as a mess and in need of repair. In need of karma.
They’ve retained their individuality though. This is not the straight up riffing bruiser the circumstances might have dictated but a free-flowing rollercoaster of crashing anger and heartache and of pure black despair, yet of burgeoning promise and hope. Each track written on the road and forged from the sweat of the venue.
‘Mad Woman’ kicks things off in a raucous frenzy (a natural set opener) before settling into guitarist Andres Duende’s galloping riff and the grasping hook of the chorus. Hook. That word will come up again because that’s what this album screams at you. Hooks. They’re everywhere. ‘Evil People’ starts off right in your face then promptly adopts a deftly disjointed structure. A stunted riff lets the keyboard shine through for the first time and vocalist Jesus Trujillo really starts to let loose. This sound is a real departure from their previous albums. The keyboards are ramped right up. Richer, rounder and so much more Hammond-y than before. (If that’s not even a word it should be. Look it up in any dictionary and there should be no definition but a picture of Jon Lord.) I’m not here to draw comparisons but that’s what I hear and Eldorado make no secret of their influences. The art and structure of the songs here is heavily rooted in Deep Purple, Queen and Led Zeppelin territory. Not a zone to wander in if you don’t have the balls. No worries here.
‘Breathe The Night’ comes next and suddenly it’s an uplifting acoustic melody with an eery haunted vibe to it. Did I mention hooks? Here they are again. With no time to dwell on the romanticisms evoked ‘Goodbye And Carry On’ starts up with a vocal/guitar duel before bassist Cesar Sanchez and drummer Christian Giardino get on board and push it into the realms of where these guys came from. Classic rock. Heavy, heady, blues based, rock and roll. Deftly offset by a softer middle eight before rising back into the swirling riff and repeated chorus. Hook, hook, hook.
‘I’ll Be Satisfied’ kicks in with a heavy keyboard/guitar riff and pounding rhythm section. When the vocals start there’s the hook again. It runs throughout this beauty and leaves you wanting it to be twice as long. They then drop the tempo right down for the intro to ‘Flowers Of Envy’ which then takes the undulating form of the entire album as it rises and falls repeatedly from an anguished lament into a desperate wailing crescendo.
‘Resurrection Song’ follows and is immediately distracting. Every solo singer songwriter on the planet should be envious of the simplicity of this beautifully crafted tune. Hooks you see? ‘You don’t Wanna Need Her’ is next and starts with Jesus repeating the title with a keyboard accompaniment and just as you think it’s the theme for the remainder of the song in kicks the band and you’re bouncing. I mean bouncing. The swaggering rhythm makes you writhe with glee and makes it every inch an anthem.
‘Karma Generator’ comes next with a subdued keyboard and vocal harmony. Building slowly the guitar, bass and drums arrive without urgency creating an intriguing foundation for what’s to come. Bands don’t write an eleven and a half minute song without a lot of care. A real intent to make a statement. You can hear it. Purposeful and determined it builds into the album’s pearl. Sending the message of a time for change for a band that’s doing just that. Halfway through it cranks up into the grumbling angst ridden monster it promised before crashing into a hazy wall of noise.
The album’s closer ‘Moon Girl’ is perfectly placed to bring you back to earth with a lilting keyboard and voice before the band pick you up and shake you across the bridge and then put you back down ever so gently.
The only thing to do after listening to this album is to play it again. Hooks. Everywhere.
With some of the songs tested towards the end of their last European tour they have now presented the album in full at a press launch gig in Barcelona and will soon be heading back out on the road where Babylonia Haze (English version)/Karma Generator (Spanish version) was created. If they come anywhere near your home you must see them. If they don’t you must see them anyway.
Tour dates available on their website: http://www.eldoradorockband.com/gigs.html