Tempano

Childhood's End: El Fin de la Infancia

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Childhood's End (El Fin de la Infancia in its original Spanish title) is Venezuelan prog rockers Tempano's first international release and marked the end of a hiatus that lasted over a decade. It is a thing of strengths and weaknesses, but in the long run it makes a very good serving of symphonic progressive rock, more satisfying than the follow-up The Agony and the Ecstasy. The core quartet of the group is augmented by After Crying cellist Peter Pejtsik on many cuts. His input is crucial in the short opener "Tres," an exciting track. Actually the first four pieces stand out. "Timorato" and "Lugar de Casas Nuevas" are two strong instrumental jazz-rock numbers with lush keyboards, reminiscent of PFM's music in the late '70s. "Sin Retorno" introduces Pedro Castillo's singing and works out very well, stretching out to seven minutes without loosing its momentum. Elegant in short settings, the group's music becomes pompous and self-indulgent in the 24-minute title track. The piece fails to convey the impression that it needed to be that long. It sounds like a sequence of 11 shorter tunes hastily stitched together. Some of them are good (like "UNO," the only other piece with vocals), but this house of cards refuses to stand. In comparison, "Escape Para el Hombre Común" accomplishes more in four minutes, articulating two well-written themes. "En la Via" introduces classical guitar and a whiff of South American jazz (think Nana Vasconcelos) that would have been more than welcomed earlier. Childhood's End is more than decent, but its best moments happen when Tempano doesn't try to update its music for the new generation; then, they only manage to sound like a generic Musea band.

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