Haste Publika’s Estranha Loucura is Portuguese progressive rock for the musically curious
Progressive rock has many forms, and Haste Publika‘s reading of the genre is interesting. Their sound is rather lightweight, never thundering into all-out metal. Rather, there’s plenty of lightly overdriven guitar, subtle keyboard work, and gentle clean-sung vocals. The mood is airy and nostalgic, though never melodramatic or melancholic.
Haste Publika are clearly very competent musicians, the most impressive part about their performance being their admirable restraint. The band members are incredibly tight, each playing exactly what is expected of them and not a note in excess. That’s something you don’t get to hear too often in a prog rock outfit.
At nine songs, Estranha Locura isn’t tiresomely long, either. The compositions are varied, though they don’t venture into any far-out territories. Once again, restraint is the key word here. Haste play it safely and confidently, making steady songs that never sound overbearing. One would think these wonderful musicians ought to challenge themselves a bit more, for they sound a little too comfortable in their sonic blueprint. But writing a bunch of nicely put-together, stable, easy-flowing songs appears to have been the goal here, and the result is certainly enjoyable.
The production quality is clearly budget, though, with the record sounding fairly thin and under-produced. It could pass as a well-recorded demo, but the final result is in need of more punch and definition to sound truly convincing. Hopefully, the band will have the means to put more work into making its next release sound better, for their music deserves every bit of polish it can get.
Horns Up: A very well composed and performed progressive rock record sung in native Portuguese.
Horns Down: The band does not venture outside its zone of comfort and production is all too thin by modern standards.
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