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Esperanza

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Album Review

Manta Ray is quite an interesting Spanish rock band. This particular CD is a co-production between the Mexican-based label and production company Genital Productions and a Spanish CD label based out of Madrid. Although there is some subtle use of singing, the impression a listener will be left with is largely that of an instrumental album. The drumming can be on the heavy side, and at first the generally rocking direction brings to mind some of the fine band instrumentals by Captain Beefheart, an overused source of comparison but one that no doubt applies in this circumstance, first of all because in some ways he set the standard for rock instrumentals outside the norm of the Ventures, but mainly because everyone knows they love "El Capitan" in Spain. So think Beefheart with heavier drumming at first, but as the tracks proceed the instrumental writing becomes more elaborate, beginning to take on something of a classical air. The harmonic progressions no longer smack of Beefheart, and instead the listener might think of guitarists diligently putting together various combinations of chords, looking for one that after all these years rings somewhat differently. Of course the musicians all have their personal touches as well. The group itself is identified as having four members, but there is also heavy use made of the guest pianist. This is a good one for progressive rock fans, and if they are of the English variety they will get even more out of it if they happened to have paid attention in Spanish class.

Biography

Formed: Gijón, Spain

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Spanish indie rockers Manta Ray pursued a restlessly experimental approach for most of their career, starting out as a bluesy noise-rock band and drifting farther and farther into avant-garde territory. Initially composed of José Luis García (lead vocals, guitar), Nacho Vegas (guitar), Nacho Alvarez (bass), and Isaías Sanz (drums), Manta Ray formed in Gijón, Spain, and debuted in 1994 with the EP Escuezme!, issued on Subterfuge Records. Their self-titled debut full-length arrived in late 1995, with...
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Esperanza, Manta Ray
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