Mike McLatchey 28-April-2001 Lar de Maravilhas

This used to be one of the most in-demand Brazilian progressive rock albums, although its reputation was far more inflated than its actual worth. A mixed bag, Casa das Maquinas works all over the map on their debut album. Opener "Vou Morar Noar" is decidedly Beatlesque. Title track "Lar de Maravilhas" is one of several symphonic-oriented pieces on the album and definitely one of those that gets this album its reputation. "Astral Lização" and "Cilindro Cônico" work in a spacious, symphonic style that is reminiscent of artists like José Cid, Pulsar and Pablo "El Enterrador" - full of keyboards, especially organs, string and lead synths. "Vale Verde" is the culmination of this style, featuring both instrumental and vocal sections of great beauty, on par with the best Brazilian symphonic rock a la Bacamarte or Tellah. "Raios de Luna" suffers from the same symptoms as other like-minded symphonic pieces and is thus indistinguishable from many other 70's ballads. However, the piece is genius compared to the follow-up track, "Epidemia de Rock," one of those forgettable rock boogies with pounding piano that will have you running for the skip button. The narrated closer breeds more incongruousness, a return to the symphonic feel of the middle tracks, but with a less impressive effect. Truly a strange collection of songs, from superb symphonic flights to the depths of banality. It's not much more than a mere curiosity overall.

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