If Dancing on a Cold Wind is not as strong as Carmen's previous album, it is mostly because the 24-minute suite "Rememberances (Recuerdos de Espana)" is not as tightly linked musically than the second half of Fandangos in Space. The fact that heartbreak and failed relationships provide the sole topic on this album also gives it redundant flavor. Still, this effort showcases the same elements that made the band's first LP an artistic success: sharp musicianship and the spellbinding blend of progressive rock and flamenco, although this time around the first influence is far more important than the second. It is not obvious in the opener "Viva Mi Sevilla," though; this frenetic dance is the album's energy peak. A set of variations on the theme of Fandangos in Space's "Bulerias," pushing the Spanish element to new heights, can be considered as Carmen's best song ever, impressive in every possible way, and John Glascock's distorted bass rips the tiles off the floor. All other tracks follow a lightly melancholic mood. The pop song "I've Been Crying" hints at the direction Carmen will take on its last album The Gypsies. The nine-part suite "Rememberances" follows the plot of an impossible love: a gypsy woman, ex-prostitute who turned her life around, finds and loses the love of her life. All band members are cast, with Roberto Amaral acting as narrator and first singer. The piece features some good themes ("Table Two for One [Sambra]," "Time [She's No Lady]") but it suffers from structural problems. This album is still worthy of any prog rock fan's attention.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by François Couture