Chaneton - Questions Inside The Picture

Year of Release: 2000
Label: New Mellotron Records
Catalog Number: New Mellotron 1
Format: CD
Total Time: 56:27:00

None other than Andres Valle's daughter Keila Valle Di Dio adorns the cover of the debut album by fellow Argentinians Chaneton. Firmly rooted in the Marillion tradition (the band recently released Cinema Show, a tribute album based on the music of both Marillion and Genesis!), the band's debut album Questions Inside The Picture also marks the launch of the New Mellotron Records label founded by Mellotron magazine editor Andres Valle. Certainly the packaging is very professional compared to a lot of the other labels. There's even an extra cardboard outer package to extra protect the album.

It becomes clear that the vocals will be the weaker point here as musically it all fits very well, yet singer Patricio Villanueva doesn't come across as being very versatile. It all sounds a bit convulsive, trying his bit to suppress the accent rather than get into the requested theatrical role this kind of music implies. "A Long Time Past" is a wonderful song driven on dramatic piano with hidden touches of acoustic guitar. Sometimes Villanueva's voice gets close to early Gabriel, as is clear in "Dolphin's Song" which has some "Musical Box" references tucked away all over the song. Patricio tries to change his voice from normal to head-voice as he then swirls between Gabriel and Fish, but you hear he's trying too hard at times, which doesn't do the music any justice. "The Last Dream" is exactly the kind of material which fits nicely in between Fugazi and Misplaced Childhood even if leader/guitarist Alex Chaneton's guitar solo leans more towards John Petrucci than Steve Rothery here.

The piano which kicks off "Soul's Shapes" gets damn close to Elton John's "Your Song," but that's before the singing, of course, which once again takes you by the hands to the woods where a young Gabriel and a young Fish are dancing with the elves. I very much like the quiet guitar which is mixed in the background to enhance the feel of the song. As time passes by it's as if Patricio is feeling more at ease, as if the stress has left and he can fully concentrate on the singing. In "The Frontier" he approaches the singing as if he was to deliver the vocals on an album between Trespass and Nursery Crime but backed with a more neo-prog setting. As is often the case on this album, I would love to hear more solos both on guitar and especially where keyboards are concerned. It's as if the band heard my "complaint" because in the next song "The Secret Box," Alex Chaneton shines in all his glory. Also the melody here is very catchy making it one of the better songs on this album. Personally I would have liked the strings to have more volume in the final mix whilst of course the best result would have been to include a real orchestra!

The three last songs make up one whole new epic clocking in at just over 14 minutes. Nice classical acoustic guitar opens "Heaven's Sound" which has you dreaming about heaven. Would sound nice with real cello in the background though. Chaneton's debut closes with the title track, which again holds a very commercial rhythm, embracing some hard guitar riffs. As a debut this album certainly has its merits, but I would have liked more downright solos, certainly in the keyboard department. Right now it feels as if the most important part in Chaneton's music is the vocals around which the rest of the music is built. Maybe they should try a different approach as there's certainly enough potential for this band to become in Argentina what Cast now means in Mexico!

Hero's Graves (1:24) / Bridge (0:37) / Tears In The Rain (6:08) / A Long Time Past (3:10) / Dolphin's Song (5:14) / The Last Dream (4:47) / A Long Time Past (Fast) (3:46) / Soul's Shapes (4:29) / The Frontier (6:11) / The Secret Box (6:11) / Heaven's Sound (2:48) / Aquatic Dreams (5:45) / Questions Inside The Picture (5:51)

Alex Chaneton - guitars
Adrian Marqu?s Gomez - bass, bass pedals, electric guitar
Carlos Kleppe - keyboards
Jano P?rez Sermenti - drums, percussion
Patricio Villanueva - vocals
Kike Gentile - drums, percussion

Questions Inside The Picture (2000)
The First Light Of The Century (2004)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin AR

Added: December 1st 2000
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

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Language: english


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