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ESPRESSO- ESPRESSO (2022) (Mylodon Records/ Bandcamp)

First of all, some background information: Espresso’s style develops elements of progressive rock, jazz, electronica and experimentation, which is complemented by varied sound scenes that cohere in multiple instrumental nuances. Its members are Pierino Madrid Pruzzo (bass), Fernando Meneses Díaz (guitar), Elías Orellana Gómez (drums) and Wilfredo Salas González (keyboards, synthesizers). The recording work for this debut album was done at Estudios Raíces Creativo, while the mixing and co-production was in charge of Felipe Ortiz. The mastering, on the other hand, was done by Francisco Holzmann. It should be noted that the community of fans of the Progressive "Progressive Nation" has recognized "Espresso" within a selection of bands worldwide and Ibero-American. The band won the "Nación Prog Awards 2022" in two categories: "Best Band" and "Best Ibero Album."

Wow, I was expecting something special and I sure did get it! The brilliant opener ‘The Cooler’ could have been a track off a Gary Boyle and ISOTOPE album: tricky yet catchy, with an excellently constructed and delivered guitar break by Díaz. Could the rest have the audacity to be as good: it’s ‘Nuevo horizonte’ next: the same level of intricacy, with a wondrous guitar wash sweeping the senses, Gonzáez’s synth providing the counter melody. The rhythm section is more than up to the job as heard on, some delightful echoing guitar arpeggios cutting through the backdrop. ‘IO’ has the heaviest riff so far, one that will get heads nodding before some crystal-clear guitar brings in more of a jazz fusion vibe, a nicely judged synth solo emerges as we orbit around the planet Jupiter (hence the title); the fluid guitar break once again singles out Díaz out as a top guitarist. ‘Kosmos’ is the longest number (just), at over eight minutes, more of a ballad focusing on the most subtle aspects of the guitar, not that there’s anything that isn’t subtle and engaging about “Espresso”. ‘Rollercoaster’ is just that, an all-encompassing range of emotions and instrumental interplay. It may be a lot to take in over one listen, but on an album (record companies anyone?) one side at a time it would be an even more excellent listen. Album closer ‘Vortex’ with its vertiginous synth and coruscating guitar solo is another personal favourite, but it’s all great; definitely, a guitarist’s album and much more.

Espresso also reminds me a little bit of that wonderful prog band KERMIT. (I haven’t heard from them for a while). Please check them out, EPSRESSO that is (and KERMIT if you haven’t heard them)!

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