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Casa Das Máquinas - Lar de Maravilhas CD (album) cover

LAR DE MARAVILHAS

Casa Das Máquinas

 

Prog Related

3.54 | 38 ratings

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Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars Casa Das Máquinas released three LP's between 1974 and 1977, their debut and third album offering hard-rock songs, but smack-bang in the middle of those two in 1975 was `Lar de Maravilhas', their most interesting and dynamic work that has since come to be recognised as something of a minor classic of prog-rock originating from Brazil. While adventurous rock would probably be a more accurate description than full-blown progressive rock, their hard-rock style here was loaded with spacey keyboards, symphonic arrangements, intricate direction changes and great variety, all driven by strong melodies sung in Portuguese with confident vocals and skilled instrumentation.

Opener ` Vou Morar No Ar' swaps acoustic guitar-lifted verses for soaring group harmonies and funky electric guitars over swirling spacey synths in place of a chorus. The title track `Lar De Maravilhas' has plenty of passionate plucked acoustic guitar and sweet group harmonies that float like a soothing breeze, but it also jumps back and forth between doomy slow-burn electric guitars and a distorted, other-wordly treated vocal. `Liberdade Espacial' is an addictive smouldering grooving rocker with nice thick bass and a cool melting synth break in the middle, there's traces of Yes throughout `Astraliza''o' with its rolling electronics, buoyant bass, weeping guitars and restrained symphonic Hammond organ finale, and lethargic echoing voices and cooing chorus harmonies of `Cilindro C'nico' get blasted with fiery electric guitar wailing and up-tempo rattling drums in the second half.

With its lengthy instrumental bookended passages, `Vale Verde' is the big pure prog moment of the disc, not far removed in parts from the sounds of German bands Novalis' `Sommerabend' and Epidaurus' `Earthly Paradise' albums. A positive whirling Moog theme, E.L.P-like Hammond bluster and eventually soft falsetto harmonies glide through the piece, and the dramatic symphonic ending is legendary. The pretty `Raios de Lua' is a dreamy and romantic acoustic ballad that warmly embraces, but `Epidemia de Rock' is nothing more than a throwaway (if still well performed) rock 'n roller that would have been more at home on the debut or follow-up album `Casa de Rock'. The band close on the two-part `O Sol/Reflexo Ativo' that opens with a lengthy narration delivered by a drifting psychedelic voice (almost reminding of a similar introduction on the closing piece `Encyclopedia Terra' off German band Mythos' debut) before surging into a triumphant Hammond and Mini Moog-laden symphonic climax.

The mix of hard and acid rock, spacey instrumentation and progressive inventiveness with pop smarts throughout `Lar de Maravilhas' proves to be very addictive, and the sumptuous vocals and harmonies just lift this wonderful album even higher. It's well-worth picking up if you've already got plenty of the `big' bands and albums in your collection and are looking to expand it with more obscure yet equally worthwhile releases, so you can't go wrong with Casa Das Máquinas' defining musical statement.

Four stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |

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