Espíritu origin lies in Argentina with a dizzeling history of existence. The band, led by guitarist Osvaldo Favrot, officially sees the light of day in 1972, although Espíritu is actually corollary of an earlier band. In 1977 Espíritu is demise. In the 80s that pattern repeats itself and even after the turn of the century Favrot revitalizes the band. During all these periods band members come and go, except for primal member Favrot himself, who was always there.
Five studio albums were released at the time, as well as some live records. “Fronteras Mágicas” (2003) is the last studio work of the band and that is a pity, since the performances of everyone definitely tasted for more.
The remarkable thing about “Fronteras Mágicas” is that the album, if you look at the prog content, scores significantly lower than predecessors such as “Crísalida” (1975) and “Libre Y Natural” (1976), but still comes out as the overall winner in my opinion. Espíritu knows how to create a tasty mix of passionate pop and Pink Floyd-like prog on “Fronteras Mágicas”, music with a well-dosed amount of theatricality that always is creative and virtuoso.
For example, the first song Polarians is already a special feature. It comes across as a bit boring at first, until you fall under the spell of the wonderfully driving bass work of Federico Favrot (the son of …). While the drums stoically go their own way and the electric guitar provides a smooth flow, we hear a song in which it seems like only the background vocals have been mixed in. It doesn’t sound wrong, by the way. Thanks to the nice guitar playing, which is very reminiscent of the performances of Andy Glass with Solstice, the sparkling Sin Fronteras can be regarded as a very successful ballad. The wide range of singer Pablo Guglielmino also makes this song rise above itself. Una Palabra also is an entertaining song, not so much musically but because there is a 24-karats mondegreen in it. It is about the chorus where in the vocals the Dutch sounding phrase ‘kè toch zo’n kyste an die oor’ can regularly be heard. (I have such a cyste on that ear).
As far as I know, there are no mondegreens in the prog. Furthermore, this song has a great passage with nice solos on the Moog and guitar. Espíritu does not fail anywhere and knows how to weave the variation into it in such a way that the end result is a homogeneous album.
Para El is a beautiful piece of Steve Howe-like acoustic guitar work and the smooth Nada Que Decirte has a vibrant organ solo. In addition to the regular songs, the almost instrumental Frio has, besides bass and drums, also electronic drums and Chapman stick in the arrangement. This makes Frio an extremely catchy song, especially since the guitar sounds so incredibly cool.
Also high on the ladder of variation is the key number Caleidoscopios, the candy store of keyboard knight Ernesto Romeo. It is a fine piece of craftsmanship from a musician who knows how to give every song what it needs. Guitarist Osvaldo Favrot is also a benefactor in that respect. In Psicosis 2002 he brings a welcome cloves to the intro where he comes up with King Crimson-like chords. Of course, the band saved the best for last. A beautiful theme on the grand piano is nicely built up for more than six minutes, especially the synthesizer sounds stand out. As icing on the cake, Osvaldo Favrot starts his guitar for an unparalleled solo.
For me, “Fronteras Mágicas” is an album that contains everything I like about music. Things like melody, craftsmanship, passion and catchy but just as idiosyncratic structures are commonplace here. It’s up to you.
© Dick van der Heijde 2022