Tempus Fugit is a warm-blooded prog band from Brasil that delighted the world with three studio albums in the period 1997-2008. In particular, the CD “The Dawn After The Storm” shows their melodic ambitions best. The skilled quartet (on each album the line-up is a bit different) makes a mixture of nostalgic prog towards Camel and Marillion and neo-prog á la Pendragon all added with playing on the acoustic guitar full of temperament. It doesn’t take much effort to imagine yourself on the beach of Rio de Janeiro, sipping on a tasty cocktail. Tempus Fugit is Latin for ‘time flies’. Contrary to what the name suggests, the band makes fiery yet mostly relaxed music with a cheerful slant.
When you look at the blue cover, you would think that there is no cloud in the sky but that is not entirely true. As far as I’m concerned, the lead vocals of keyboardist André Mello are only just. Although he sounds a bit thin as a young Nick Barrett, he manages with his endearing charm. He only provides three songs with vocals, but his lines are very okay. His sentimental voice is clearly stated in the ballad Never for example. However, it should be noted that the instrumental, guitar-oriented intermediate piece still gains the most points here. Eventually, vocals and guitar find each other, and guitarist Henrique Simões closes the song melodiously including a monster riff.
The album strongest asset are the instrumental songs as you hear in opener Daydream and the subsequent title track The Dawn After The Storm. The band serves us strong interplay of lyrical guitar melodies, virtuoso keyboard playing and appropriate rhythms of bass guitar and drums. Daydream is designed by beautiful piano playing and later tight brass sounds. For a band, instrumental songs often means ‘just taking your mind off things’. For Tempus Fugit, however, it is their core business. An instrumental song is written much more from a compositional perspective. The strength of Daydream is that the flashy intro returns halfway through the song but then as a discharge. In the four-part title track, the parts Walking Through The Fields and Beyond The Horizon stand out in particular, where the largo atmosphere of one is replaced by the delicious organ playing of the other. The awe for this album grows every second.
Although most of the songs are written by André Mello, the beautiful Tocando Você is a creation of Henrique Simões. First of all, there is his acoustic guitar that later, when the band joins in, plays a significant role also. The entire song can be seen as the younger brother of The Voyager by Pendragon. Tempus Fugit is not to be accused of copycat behavior yet, its own identity is too big for that. The fiery jazz rock intro and the rippling passage afterwards of The Fortress is Camel all over the place, but that doesn’t increase the pleasure. Written by bassist André Luiz, a gem like the Prelúdio De Sevilla is a good example of the Brasilian blood that flows through the album. Luiz himself plays the classical acoustic guitar here. I say it again: wonderful.
The last three songs sound quite varied. The Sight is another vocal song, the strongest of the vocal tracks. A bombastic intro with whizzing high notes of the bass guitar transitions into a wonderfully melancholic song that is full of frenzied guitar playing. With its spacey sounds, the end can be called surprising. Something earthy emerges in the almost folky sounding O Dom De Voar. The organic song is a combination of piano, acoustic guitar and flute. The frivolous tones of the flute were performed by guest player Marco Aurêh. The last song of the album, Discover, is not too spectacular for a long time until the atmosphere changes towards Arena and we are treated to voluptuous keyboard runs and exuberant guitar playing. This is the finale the album deserves.
All in all, “The Dawn After The Storm” is a special album with music that will get you. ‘Waiter, another cocktail please.’
© Dick van der Heijde 2022