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14 Bis - Espelho Das Įguas CD (album) cover


14 Bis


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3.15 | 10 ratings

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Prog-Folk Team
2 stars Survival without profound compromise was almost the best that former full fledged progressive artists could hope for by the early 80s. By those standards 14 BIS did remarkably well with their sophisticated pop that delivered as advertised. For their third album, the arresting melodies are all but purged, but the song structures, innocent gentility, and period instrumentation all continue to impress in their intricacies within a very radio friendly framework. They pretty much gave up on the outright progressive front, which was probably for the best given how their sophomore effort revealed how limpid those excursions had become - the heart was not in it so why pretend otherwise? These were new times and the group adapted in a hugely successful manner at least from a commercial perspective.

The only real standouts are both more folk based, the gentle "A Qualquer Tempo" which oddly reminds me of a latin AMAZING BLONDEL, and the cheery bluegrass quality of "Mesmo De Brincadeira". "Nos Bailes Da Vida" approaches these high quality levels thanks to a supremely harmonious wordless chorus. Not much is really lame here, with the exception of the dreadfully ersatz rocker "Lua De Algodo", but not much stands out either, mostly because it doesn't try to. "Danca Do Tempo", "Ciranda" and "No Meio Da Cidade" all pass by without offending or appealing.

The neutrality of many of these tracks ultimately weakens the overall impact. I can still tell it is 14 BIS, and the group has merged with the times after a shakier second album, but, when I hold a mirror up to "Espelho Das Aguas", I find a watered down version of the best this group can offer. Stick with their debut or a well selected Best of compilation. 2.5 stars rounded down.

kenethlevine | 2/5 |


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