PARADISE FILTER (2014)
Buy the cd and vinyl @ the Paradise Filter shop
1 All This Could Be Yours (4:30)
2 I'm On My Way (4:27)
3 Fingers In The Till (4:45)
4 This Is What We Are (4:11)
5 Dead Man Walking (5:59)
6 Farewell My Old Friend (4:07)
7 Pain In The Arse (4:30)
8 Trust Me I Am A Doctor (4:28)
9 I'll Be There For You (6:14)
10 The Paradise Filter (6:00)
Pye Hastings (vocals, guitars)
Jim Leverton (bass, vocals)
Geoffrey Richardson (viola, guitar, flute, spoons, vocals)
Jan Schelhaas (keyboards)
Mark Walker (drums, percussion)
REVIEWS FROM VARIOUS SOURCES
First and above all: I'm very biased concerning every note Caravan plays and played. My absolute admiration of the whole oeuvre is rooted in the unbelievable talent of Pye (as well as Dave) to compose 'hooks'. No song is excluded there is always an intriguing hook. And with its ten songs, Paradise Filter (PF) stays in this line as all the albums do. Of course there are differences in appreciation of the more - so to say - 'superficial' characteristics of a song: the arrangement, tempi, used instruments, text, etc. The overall order of the songs is nice and elegant: at first I judged "Fingers in the Till" as good, but according to our CARAVAN-standard with minor chances to grow to a favourite. But now after the opening of PF with two up tempo songs the subdued intro of "Fingers in the Till" is a wonderful contrast. A real counterpoint, a very strategic - i.e. psychological moment, adding to the appreciation of songs and album. The opener "All this could be yours" is a very strong song. With a nice solo on the viola. So PF opens as strong as TUBI does with "Smoking Gun". "All this" will be is also a very strong opener of the gigs (as "Memory Lain Hugh'' for a long period uses to be). The character of "All this could be yours" is extended on a fine manner in "I'm on my way". With now the organ somewhat more in the foreground and a guitar solo of Geoff. Which I hope he will play live more fierce, spunky. This album version is too modest, too ripling. The organ solo has already this fierceness. So live this will be (and already is) a highlight in the show! As I experienced November 2013. As said: "Fingers in the till" is opening very charming and the whole song has grown, in my opinion, compared to the first version on the Shepherd Bush album. It has lost the somewhat misantropic sphere on the latter. Due to a much more light, sparkling arrangement (the pianoparts!) which causes the right contrast between music and text. Song four "This is what we are" takes up the uptempo of the first two songs. Also a very fine song. Now Geoff is soloing with a spunky mood. And the rolling, growling bass is also a tasty surprise. "Dead man walking" gives us a range of surprises: first the text, this the third time Pye has written a socially engaged text (see "Send Reinforcements" on the Cool Water album and of course "All this could be yours"). I'm wondering if this text is inspired by Cathy's experiences as a lawyer? The song itself is beautiful, it will grow to one of the albums highlights. Its building up an immense tension, right from the beginning (due to the percussion - my compliments for Mark!). Followed by the long extended outtro with the desperate touches on the piano, imagining the slow walk to the electric chair. In one word: great. In my opinion these five songs form, musically spoken, a real suite - should they melted with some nice or weird interludes together. So, in a subtle way, the diehard fans are getting where they are longing for so passionately............. With "Farewell my old friend" - a second moment of contrasting rest is presented. The beginning of the song tends to refer a little bit (with emphasis - a little bit) on cliches, lend from tearjerking songwriting. But there is also a very nice viola contribution, referring to the play on "Better by Far". Then we are arriving at "Pain in the arse". A novelty, funk on a CARAVAN-album . With fine, soulful soli both on the guitar as on the organ - fine outbreaks - hope Jan gets a chance to play these outbreaks live!! I propose the audience then will freak out. "Trust me, I'm a Doctor" is firmly rooted in the tradition of "The Dog, the dog", ridiculizing some person or social category. These tongue-in-cheek texts are hard to appreciate fully for me. But the rocking uptempo is very fine - is it a waltz? Due to the mandolin, "I'll be there for you" refers strongly to the album "The Battle of Hastings". With its strong marching pace also a fine song, with of course - very nice mandolin playing. Pye's voice is in good condition. I always find he has a voice very apt in the lower regions for 'crooning'. So here is the solution to the problem he suffers a loss of reach in the higher regions. The solos are on the short side - to my regret. With the exception of the solos on "Dead Man". The result of the decision to create a modern popsong album? Coming to an overall view: A good Caravan traditional, (since 1982) with guitars, basses and synths in a good balance. (Geoffs guitarsoli could have been recorded a little bit louder). A strong, moody album, which will be even more appreciated live, when the band sees a chance to develop the songs to eight minute pieces with ample room for typical Caravaneske breathkilling solo's!
Jasper A. Smit 30.01.2014 (COCACAMP.NL)
Ik begrijp ook wel dat de muziekwereld niet op haar grondvesten staat te trillen, omdat Caravan voor het eerst in tien jaar weer eens een nieuw album uitbrengt. Voor liefhebbers van de Canterbury- scene is het toch zeker een gebeurtenis om blij van te worden. Niet alleen omdat Caravan laat horen dat de band nog steeds ‘alive and kicking’ is, maar vooral omdat Paradise Filter een zeer aardige plaat is. Sterker nog: het is een typisch Caravan- album, want het is een groeibriljantje dat steeds beter wordt naarmate je het vaker draait. Opener All This Could Be Yours begint met dat kenmerkende slaggitaartje van bandleider Pye Hastings, voordat de ritmesectie bestaande uit drummer Mark Walker en bassist Jim Leverton opgewekt invalt en er blije muziek wordt gemaakt. De meeste tracks klokken tussen de vier en vijf minuten, dus er staan helaas geen epics van het kaliber For Richard en Nine Feet Underground op de nieuwe cd, maar er staan wel degelijk enkele afwijkende songs op. Neem bijvoorbeeld This Is What We Are met een voor Caravan-begrippen zwaar gitaargeluid, of Dead Man Walking dat nu eens geen opgewekte kost bevat. Afsluiter The Paradise Filter is de enige track die niet door Hastings is geschreven, maar door violist Geoff Richardson en toetsenist Jan Schelhaas. Die laatste bespeelt in dit nummer dat heerlijk, snerpende orgeltje dat Dave Sinclair in de eerste bezettingen van Caravan ook zo vaak liet horen! Een mooie nostalgische afsluiter van een band die voor zichzelf weer een toekomst heeft gecreëerd.
André de Waal
Ten more years and another attempt to get back in the saddle. The funds for this, apparently, were raised through crowdfunding, and the recordings took place at the same time that Richard Coughlan was fighting his last battle — his passing and the release of Paradise Filter both happened in December 2013. And whether it was Coughlan's state of health or just the usual aging process for everybody, Paradise Filter is quite obsessed with issues of health and dying. In 1975, a song with the title 'Trust Me I Am Your Doctor' could have only had one meaning, and quite a salacious one at that. But considering that all of the band's members are well in their sixties now, who knows, maybe it is a song about how you should trust your doctor. (Well, not really, but then again, the album comes without a lyric sheet, and I'm too lazy to make it out on my own). The lineup for Paradise Filter is the same as for the previous album, with the obvious exception of Coughlan, replaced by newcomer Mark Walker; Jimmy Hastings is not involved, either, nor is Dave Sinclair, so most of the extra instrumentation is provided by Richardson (viola, cello, flute, mandolin, you name it), while the bulk of the material is written by Pye. Fortunately, there is no attempt to repeat the «limp-prog» formula of Breakfast Item — once again, this is a straightforward pop-rock album, with a bit more emphasis on rock this time around: after a brief organ introduction, 'All This Could Be Yours' kicks in with a colorfully distorted guitar that immediately makes it more likable, if no less stereotypical, in a power-pop mode, than 'Smoking Gun'. Do these guys show renewed energy? Probably not, but at least the upbeat melodic fun is back, and Richardson's viola solo gives the song a nice lightweight classical edge in addition. Not that the whole album is amusing: like I said, there is a clear fixation on death and all sorts of problems that usually lead to it — apparently, Pye is not growing happy as time goes by, and from a musical standpoint, I actually welcome the fact that he is becoming more grumbly and leads the band in a darker direction, that is, back to the disposition he showed on Battle Of Hastings. This is not to say that blues-rocky songs like 'I'm On My Way' and 'Pain In The Arse' have any staying potential: their riffs are dusted off from fifty-year old stock or so, their atmospheric effect is undermined by excessive restraint, and even a thoroughly pissed-off Pye Hastings is never quite as convincing as a sunshine-radiating happy Pye Hastings. But it all feels sincere — enough to make me vaguely interested in hearing what a sixty-year old Pye Hastings has to say about the state of the world, or, rather, how he is saying that. The darkest songs are in the middle: 'Dead Man Walking' and 'Farewell My Old Friend' need no special explanation and trigger no special endorsement — a dark acoustic folk-rocker and a mournful piano ballad with predictable effects, although Richardson's viola always makes things a tad more exquisite than they could be. As things roll by, the mood eventually lightens up and Pye starts throwing some of his stock sugar around ('I'll Be There For You' — the song sounds exactly as its title could suggest), before winding things down with a yawn, on a completely adult contemporary note with the title track (ironically, this is the only non-Pye song on the album). As of 2017, it is quite possible that this is going to be the last new Caravan record: the guys are not getting any younger, there has been very little activity from them since 2014, and Paradise Filter gives off an even stronger impression of a musical testament than Battle Of Hastings did (come to think of it, these guys seemed really old in 1995, and there's almost twenty years lying in between these two albums!). If it is, at least it is definitely a better bet than Breakfast Item: it feels more true to Hastings' real state of mind and less bent on trying to «recapture the magic» that can no longer be recaptured by any means. With a modest thumbs up, I can recommend the record to any major fan of Caravan — its mix of elderly grimness and cheerfulness is a useful last brushstroke to the life picture of Pye Hastings. And if it happens not to be the last, well, I'd be happy to be proven wrong in my predictions.
George Starostin 31.05.2017 (ONLY-SOLITAIRE.BLOGSPOT.COM)
Caravan was pretty much dead when it comes to Studio Albums. During 80's they had two, during 90's one and 00's one more (but they released a huge load of live albums during this time). In 2013 the band announced a crowdfunding campaign for their new studio album Paradise Filter and I was happy to see that the campaign was 146% completed. I was happy because is nice to see a crowdfunding campaign that is fair when it comes to the values and rewards and unlikely so many others that try to rip of their own fans.
Anyway, I wasn't very excited when I've heard some snippets of the album and I thought that the album would be a huge flop. That's why it took me over a year to actually listen to it.
Another huge thing on Caravan world in 2013 was that original drummer of the band Richard Coughlan passed away in December of that year and had been in poor health for quite some years. Paradise Filter is the only album of Caravan that doesn't have Richard playing his unique style... Well, it turned out that Paradise Filter is a damn solid album that can stand well against many of the classic works of the band. They have what they always had, a feet in the Pop a feet in the Prog. I've seen many people saying that the band went Pop on this album.... I think they really don't know what Caravan was really about as they were always a big Pop act all the way. Weird because some many really Pop bands are labeled as Prog... anyway.
Paradise Filter is a bit less than 50 minutes long and is a solid 4 stars and although is no masterpiece you can hear it at any given time. Tracks like the opening 'All This Could Be Yours', 'Fingers In The Till', 'Pain In The Arse' and the title track that closes the album show they still have gas to go. I recommend!
ProgShine 4/5 10.02.2015 (PROGARCHIVES)
Short and easy. Being this one of my all-time favorite bands I had to listen to each piece of music they release. Unfortunately, once more, I wouldn't find what I was looking for (a miracle, may be?). There is nothing left of early 70's Canterburians. Hastings is long gone shopping garden tools. This is a bunch of easy-listening cuts with far-from-inspired, far-from-prog and far-from-Caravan bits of conventional arrangements.
Hastings singing takes it all, wooof, didn't he ever realized that we always stood his oversweetened voice in the good times because he used it very little?. This is a good example of how revolutionizing teenagers grow old to copy their hated parents taste. I do not buy they always were half-pop. Like it or not, Canterbury is a cornerstone for all-time great symphonic prog. In my view, some bands should not be allowed to (ab)use their name once their music is gone.
For the shake of nostalgia I would spare a couple of cuts, "This is what we are", and the opening "All this could be yours".
Poito 20.12.2015 (PROGARCHIVES)
This is Caravan's thirteenth studio album and is released ten years after their last one "The Unauthorised Breakfast Item". I find it hard to believe that it is ten years since that was released and it is something I still listen to quite regularly. "The Unauthorised Breakfast Item" represented a return to form after some mediocre releases. So I was eagerly awaiting the release of "Paradise Filter". While it may not be as excellent as the previous album it is still very good and is an album that can stand proud amongst their discography. It starts well with an uptempo track "All This Could be Yours" displaying some nice guitar riffs. There are a few of those quirky humourous songs such as "Trust Me I'm a Doctor"so typically of Caravan throughout their career. Highlights on the album include I'll Be There for You" which features a banjo played by Geoffrey Richardson who manages to make the instrument sound good. "This Is What We Are" is another good one. The final track is the title track and is a nice soothing piece of music initially but livens up half way in with some fine guitar work followed by nice flute before it returns to the earlier mood. Another highlight is "Farewell My Old Friend" which is a fitting tribute to their former drummer Richard Coughlan who passed away last year On their past albums there were often one or two tracks that I found annoying but not in this case. Overall it is a mellow album with fine musicianship, reflecting the maturity of the band members. Its a recording to chill out to, maybe on a summer's evening watching the sunset with a glass of fine vintage wine. A definite 4 star recording!!!
FXM 22.08.2014 4/5 (PROGARCHIVES)
It only seems like a couple of weeks since Caravan announced in August 2013 that they were to record a new album that would be financed by money pledged by fans, and yet here it is already! What should have been a joyous time for the band and fans alike was sadly marred by the death of long-time drummer Richard Coughlan on December, however it is fitting that the digital download of the album was released to fans who had pledged on December 20, the day of Richard’s funeral! Musically this has classic Caravan stamped all over it. It is not, however, a hark back to the halcyon days of the 70’s and In the Land of Grey and Pink or For Girls Who Grow Plump in the Night, there are not anywhere near as many long instrumental sections in there for a start and the longest song I’ll Be There For You clocks in at a mere 6:14. What we do have here is a stripped down, and updated 2013 version of everything that Caravan fans look for. The classic songwriting is there, as is the excellent musicianship and whimsical lyrics, and let’s face it, with that instantly recognisable, trademark voice, Pye Hastings could re-record Never Mind The Bollocks and it would probably still sound like Caravan. All This Could Be Yours is a belter of an opener, and despite what I said above, this is one track that would not have been out of place on Grey and Pink or Girls Who Grow Plump! With an excellent, albeit short, viola solo from Geoffrey Richardson, and a great hook in the chorus, it skips along merrily in classic Caravan style. One of the ways of financing the album was to get people to pledge extra to go to the studio and get involved in the recording, I don’t want to pour cold water on anything but sadly I think this is where the band have shot themselves ever so slightly in the foot. Despite being a great song, I’m On My Way, has some awful, flat backing vocals in the chorus which almost ruin the song. The same applies to This Is What We Are where a slightly naff chorus comes close to ruining what is otherwise a very strong song, being slightly heavier than we are used to from Caravan including an infectious piano motif and an excellent, soaring guitar solo towards the end. The slower Dead Man Walking is the perfect pacer, leading into the very emotive Farewell My Old Friend. As an ode to the passing of a close friend, this song is made all the more poignant following the death of Richard Coughlan and brings a lump to the throat! In typical Caravan style, no-one is allowed to get too maudlin, as the next two songs Pain in the Arse with the vitriolic closing line ‘I don’t care if you sue me now, you are insane’, and Trust Me I Am A Doctor put the collective tongues firmly back in the cheek. Doctor takes an irreverent stab at a GP, who I’m quite sure, given the amount of names dropped in the song is a real person and should have no difficulty in identifying himself! But it is all done in good fun and I’m sure no umbrage will be taken! The album finishes on a mellow note with the wistful I’ll Be There For You and the title song Paradise Filter which kicks off really slow and melancholy with a late night jazz feel, before breaking out into a middle section that is very reminiscent of the instrumental break in The Dog, The Dog, He’s At It Again! Overall this is an excellent return for a band that has been absent from the recording studio for too long (it is ten years since the release of The Unauthorised Breakfast Item in 2003). Not that they have been resting on their laurels as they have still been playing live gigs, but it is nice to know that they can still cut it and write well crafted, catchy and extremely listenable songs. It also proves that the pledging route is a very viable way of financing studio time and album releases, sadly, however, I doubt very much that would work for new bands as you would have to have a name for yourself in order to create the initial interest. Maybe extensive gigging and as the old saying goes ‘paying your dues’ would help. Now there’s an idea (take note potential XFactor and The Voice contestants)!
jonb52.wordpress 20.01.2014 (JONB52)
I bought this CD a few days before seeing them live at the start of the Paradise Filter tour. That proved to be a good move as the show features several songs from the album. The lineup includes Mark Walker on drums who has taken over the stool from the late and very great Richard Coughlan. To his credit he does a great job as do all the band. The loss of Doug Boyle's guitar actually allows the band to return to a more traditional Caravan sound. While 'The Unaurtorised Breakfast Item' was certainly a very compitant album I felt it lacked something. That 'something' has been re-discovered. Pye Hastings song writing has remain wornderful throughout the last 45 years and the new songs on the CD don't disappoint. His voice is still as mellow as it alway's been but it's one I don't think I'll ever tire of listening to. He writes and sings all bar one of the songs on the CD. The exception being the title track. This was written by Geoff Richardson and Jan Schelhaas in '"the Caravan style". This one would drop straight into 'Girls who grow plump..' very easily. 'Fingers in the till' tells a story of corruption and frustration and has a increadibly catchy chorus. There is some sentimentallity evident in some other songs, something which Pye has always done well. This is particually evident in 'Farewell my old friend' which, after the loss of Richard Coughland and paired with 'For Richard' in the live set, takes on a whole new meaning. I have to say that having suffered a loss of my own recently I find it an uncomfortable but satisfying listen. All in all Caravan are back on form with a sound that I'm sure will swell their legions of fans over the coming years and earn them the wider recognition they deseve.
E H Jones 5/5 13.03.2014 (AMAZON)
More Canterbury Tales.
There must be something in the waters of Canterbury, as two of the best rock groups from the 60s and 70s continue to put out outstanding work decades later. CARAVAN and CAMEL are legends that continue to amaze. This outing ranks right up there with several other great CARAVAN albums. It reminds me a bit of their album Blind Dog at St. Dunstans. I'm so glad to have this music in my collection. It shines brightly!
Randall Richmond 5/5 21.04.2014 (AMAZON)
Moving with the times.
This is an interesting follow up to Unauthorised Breakfast Item originally underwritten through the Pledge Music organisation. Of course things have changed with the line up from the previous album; firstly with the sad passing of the irreplaceable Richard Coughlan, drummer extraordinaire, but secondly, the departure of the equally irreplaceable Doug Boyle. For me the concern was that the end of an era might bring about the demise of the band I have followed for close on 45 years. But I should not have worried - there have been previous successful metamorphoses and this one is no different. A band which adapts and refreshes retains its loyal following - here we have something for everyone. We have two great rock n' roll opening tracks, a bit of jazz, some sentimentality and even some MOTR - the inevitable Caravan humour but no longer songs. This is a well produced album which does take a little while to grow. But it is up there with their better albums not least because it has, to some extent, chosen to move on. Don't worry people there's no rap or electronic swing here but it's a great listen in the car.
G. Connor 5/5 26.02.2014 (AMAZON)
Caravan are back.
This is Caravans first album in a decade and the first without Richard Coughlan (RIP) on drums, but in Mark Walker they have found a more than suitable replacement. Also missing is Lead Guitarist Doug Boyle and whilst his excellent guitar solos are missing this is still Caravan at their very best. With Pye Hastings sharing vocal harmony with Geoffrey Richardson there is a stronger vocal element to this album and Marks drumming brings a harder edge to the sound. Perhaps not so varied as their previous brilliant Unauthorised Breakfast Item this is still a great album and worthy of five stars.
sidney112 5/5 18.03.2014 (AMAZON)
A great driving companion.
Purchased this direct from Caravan's own website. As someone who always has CD's on in the car when driving, I frequently listen to Caravan (Grey & Pink, Girls who grow plump & Fairfield Hall my favourites) and since owning this CD I'm now listening to this a lot. I saw them live in Whitstable just before Christmas and would recommend anyone who likes them to check out the band on their tour in 2014 (starting March). Whilst I won't give an in depth review of each track I would just say if you've liked Caravan in the past then get this CD as in my opinion it's very good.
Liffy 5/5 25.02.2014 (AMAZON)
Caravan back with a Bang.
Caravan fans will not be disappointed with Paradise Filter. It's the first in ages and while there are no long typical 'For Richard' type tracks there is a lot here to like. The album starts off with a real rocker All this could be yours and every track has a hook and if you think they are just ok at first they all really grow. There is a Pink Floydish track called This is What we Are, which includes all the fans who paid for a share in this album to finance it. Great idea and they pull it off. Things settle on the album with a slow touching number Farewell Old Friend , although it looks like a homage to Richard Coughlan according to Pye Hastings it's also a song about the many funerals he has attended over the past few years living in Scotland. I love Trust Me I'm Doctor and I'll Be There For You which is an absolute classic. Strangely to me the title track seems a bit at odds with the rest of the album which it is because it's written by Geoffrey Richardson and JAN Schellas still a good song though but different, and of course the name of the album. Great to see the band back and in such good form -highly recommended.
Peter Williams "PW" (Hounslow, Middlesex United Kingdom) 4/5 07.06.2014 (AMAZON)
For anyone who loved Land of Grey and Pink - don't bother with this. Caravan were a brilliant band; they should be wise enough to know this is a quality control failure. I like the cover painting though.
By old man and the sea "Phil" (London UK) 2/5 29.05.2014 (AMAZON)
Caravan will never reach the dizzy heights of their early albums in my opinion but as time goes by they still produce some great stuff. This album is full of clever songs with the usual brilliant musicianship of all band members. Well worth a purchase.
M. R. Clarke 5/5 19.05 (AMAZON)
It's been a sad time for Caravan and their followers with the loss of founding member Richard Coughlan in 2013, no doubt shaking the group up, but through the support of fans, by way of a successful online Pledge Music pre-order campaign, we now have a thirteenth Caravan album entitled `Paradise Filter'. Truthfully, as much as fans can have good-will towards this beloved act, the results delivered offer only a slight interest to progressive rock fans, but there's still traces of the Caravan humour, good nature and musical taste. It's not like anyone should have expected any more side-long epics or quirky arrangements, so a bulk of `Paradise Filter' is straightforward oldies pop/rock, AOR tracks and ballads, but admittedly there's still the instantly recognisably warm and dignified voice of Pye Hastings. While initially somewhat unexciting, stick with the album for a few tracks and the better material starts to emerge. A bunch of pleasing, melodic but mostly forgettable pop/rockers takes up the first sections of the album. With a bit more energy and life, `All This Could Be Yours' could have been one of those peppy little openers that appeared on earlier albums like `Feelin' Alright' off `Better By Far'. It's got a fairly catchy chorus, and Geoffrey Richardson's viola shows up briefly throughout the final minute, but it's mixed very low when it really needed to stand out! Mid- tempo rocker `I'm On My Way' has an almost flat wheezy chorus, but some gently bluesy guitar licks save it. With a title like `Fingers In The Till', one of those trademark silly and sprightly Caravan poppy tracks was expected, but it's a rather melancholic and serious plodder, only getting more infectious in the chorus towards the end. There's nice synths but they're mixed so far to the back they may as well have been left off altogether. `This Is What We Are' shows the first signs of life and promise, a catchy chorus and stand- out vocal break mixed with menacing heavy piano and surprisingly murky snarling hard- rock riffs. `Dead Man Walking' has nice dusty western movie style harmonica, with a welcome extended instrumental second half built around striking acoustic guitar and dramatic piano, Hammond organ bristling away in the background. `Farewell, My Old Friend' is a touching piano ballad in honour of the late Richard Coughlin sung with sincerity by Pye and the whole band playing with great heart and emotion, and `I'll Be There For You' is a lovely romantic and optimistic light banjo ballad with classy synth orchestration. Thankfully we also eventually get some of those cheekier numbers starting with the slinky jazz rocker `Pain In The Arse'! The hostile and very bitter `relationship gone wrong' lyric is a little shocking, but it's worth it to hear Pye deliver the classic line `While I think of it, you look just like a horse!' - now that's the Caravan I like to hear! `Trust Me I'm A Doctor' has nice jangling guitars over sly lines like `I'm here to look after your health, and maybe I'll add to my wealth', or even more amusingly `I told him that my throat hurt and that I couldn't sing, he said "Don't worry, Pye, neither can I!" Speaking of classic Caravan, Geoffrey Richardson takes the lead vocal on the title track album closer, a dreamy ballad that deters into a 70's style Caravan instrumental, not unlike the middle of `The Dog, The Dog He's At It Again'. Trilling flute, soft acoustic guitars and energetic synths all weave beautifully together, and it's the absolute highlight of the album. I do believe the band should really `play the prog card' like that final piece a little more if they decide to release further albums in the future, just throw in more zippy synth soloing, more instrumental passages, even if it's kind of clichéd and predictable, because that's the sound Caravan fans really want to hear. A majority of vocal based straight-forward rock pieces from any progressive band are going to wear a little thin, no matter how much goodwill you have towards them. But many nice moments pop up throughout, so `Paradise Filter' is not without its charms, and it's really hard not to be taken in by this good-hearted band. Therefore it's still a worthy release for the more forgiving of their fans, and Caravan and Canterbury Scene completists will likely want to add either the CD or vinyl LP to their collection right away. Note - Well done to all the fans who pre-ordered the album and got their names printed in the CD booklet. Nice big letters, easily to read and clear, they must be stoked to be a part of Caravan history! Good on them!
Aussie-Byrd-Brother 05.10.2014 3/5 (PROGARCHIVES)
The British Canterbury band Caravan has been an important part of my prog discoveries the past two years and I have got anything fresh and lovely from almost everything they have done. Thirteen records have they done, many of them have got bad reviews from listeners here but I have liked even records as Back to front, The Album and Cunning Stunts. Their latest record from 2003 though didn't got my fully attention. In the very end of last year 2013 Caravan released their thirteenth studio album "Paradise filter" and it took some while before I could listen to it. I like the appearence of the cover. The Caravan sign is fresh and simple and the title has a computer style and the main motive is some strong coloured fields. Four of the participating musicians have been in Caravan before. Most important of them are of course Pye Hastings, without whose voice and light attitude there hadn't been any Caravan. Also we have Geoffrey Richardson whose strings from time to time have given this music a lot of splendor and Jan Schelhaas who also played keyboards in the band in the middle of the seventies. Jim Leverton has played bass in the band since 1995. Drummer Mark Walker is new. Beside these musicians some are missed of course: Richard Coughlan, who died last year, the keyboard wizard Dave Sinclair and the charismatic Richard Sinclair is also missed, even if Caravan still is a reliable band. Actually I was a bit suspicious when I put this record but instead the music made me satisfied. "Paradise filter" is not a fantastic record that Caravan should be remebered for, but it is a great collection of well performed songs. Some of the songs are very decent. I think I like "I'll be there for you" most(8/10). It's a happy song with an instrumental world which proudly bears the mantle of this prog band. "Trust me I am a doctor" is another lovely piece, well composed and sung and has great guitars too(8/10). Then we have "All this could be yours" which enters the record with melodical light and the catchy Pye and some English strings(8/10). "Fingers in the till" is also very sympathic with a smart melody and guitar(7/10) as well as "I'm on my way" which even if it's a bit bluesy has some old Caravan' feeling. The other compositions are reasonable but not interesting. My overall impression is that this is a good late Caravan record. It doesn't seem to have intentions to fight with old Caravan in originality but it doesn't need to do that. If I would judge records after how progressive they are this would have got a very low rating. Now I'm going to give it three strong stars. It is not a magic record, but it pleases me as a Caravan fan, and I am sure others will like it too. I think Caravan is worth your time!
DrömmarenAdrian 11.07.2014 3/5 (PROGARCHIVES)
What I wrote about "The Battle of Hastings" applies here as well: There is much on this album that I like, just not too much prog, really. So, although I consider this to be quite a fine album (some songs stronger than others, of course) I can't give more than 3 stars here, progwise... Musically, it's close to TBoH, although I'm missing older brother Jimmy Hastings' woodwinds that are missing here (for the first time?). Nevertheless, Geoffrey Richardson's viola fills some gaps in a nice way. After some listening, it's probably a little weaker than TBoH, which might have the catchier melodies, and "The Unauthorized Breakfast Item", which might have a little more edge, but if you liked those, this one should definetely be worth a try.
madcap68 26.06.2014 3/5 (PROGARCHIVES)
There are some rare bands underway which still can hold up the spirit they were able to offer when starting the fire long ago. Unfortunately though, at least when it comes to this studio album, the current CARAVAN incarnation can't be counted amongst them. Okay, they are free to record what they like to play, no question. But this definitely is not what I was waiting for. When comparing with their earlier productions, 'Paradise Filter' appears far away from what I would call progressive rock music. Ten songs are given, blues and folk pop rock tinged, I can't hear any canterbury context anymore. Simple straightforward compositions, not remotely close to suites like 'Nine Feet Underground' and 'For Richard' for instance. I'm missing any surprises, twists and turns, or improv parts featuring this typical intriguing guitar, keyboard and violin interaction from the earlier days. Only on Trust Me I'm A Doctor and the title track there is a slight reminiscence to the successful times to recognize. Although Pye Hastings' charming voice nearly has gone on some tunes you can hear that the musicianship is already there basically. But when it comes to the compositions they are playing it utterly safe here. Hence - with deep respect for the musicians and their legacy - this songs won't light my fire, sorry.
Rivertree 12.03.2014 2/5 (PROGARCHIVES)
This is what we are.
A full ten years after their previous studio album, Caravan returned in 2013 with a new album. While not up to the high standards of the previous The Unauthorised Breakfast Item, Paradise Filter is a good album that is superior to the albums the group released during the 90's, 80's, and second half of the 70's (post-Cunning Stunts). The line-up consists of Pye Hastings, Jan Schelhaas, Geoffrey Richardson, Jim Leverton and Mark Walker. The distinctive Caravan sound remains intact and the band's trademarks are here. The sound is a bit more laid-back compared to The Unauthorised Breakfast Item, but not as "naked" and tame as The Battle Of Hastings. Though, the Folk influences from The Battle Of Hastings are again evident here. The melodies are less strong than on the previous album and there are no standout tracks like the excellent Nowhere To Hide from that last album. Still, Paradise Filter is a pleasant listen from beginning to end and there are no embarrassments. Any Prog fan is bound to notice that almost all of the tracks here are around four and half minutes long, and the longest track is just over six minutes in length. Hence, no epic track like Nine Feet Underground or Dabsong Conshirto. The slightly longer tracks at the end of the album and not much more progressive than the shorter ones, and the album as a whole is not overly progressive really. Paradise Filter is nonetheless a worthy entry in the Caravan catalogue.
Southsideofthesky 11.07.2014 3/5 (PROGARCHIVES)
Clean, catchy "Pop/Rock", close to today's mainstream "new" Prog? bands. - In this Caravan's "Paradise Filters" , it is more by association than musical language, but then again "Canterbury" is a quiet "loose" Prog sub-genre. Three very "radio oriented" songs open up the "paradise filters". It quiet starts the same way it finishes, more or less. I have to admit, that even though there are far better Rock groups, doing this kind of music, all of this album's songs are sure "winners", in their way to install this "franchise" in today's young (maybe some oldies?) target Prog audiences. What really works for this effort, IMO, is the unpretentiousness in general, but also the masterful songwriting. Really, the fact of writing a "best hits" album, without them existing previously, is quiet novel. What does not make me that happy about the whole thing, is the not that original musical language. Maybe Prog audiophiles who only listen to "prog" by rule, may rave over this album, but on the other hand, if you are a more "universal" audiophile, a lot of these songs will remind you (pleasantly) of some BIG names outside the court of Prog. Otherwise flawless. ***3.5 "very good PA stars album". Young people may think otherwise, but this is not "Prog" as such, but then again, not all Canterbury bands were!
admireArt 20.01.2014 3,5/5 (PROGARCHIVES)
Hastings being the only original member involved, this is a quite predictable set of mellow fm-rock songs with some nice tunes but mostly routine. The title-track could be the best cut.
Lord_Corkscrew 18.04.2014 2/5 (RATEYOURMUSIC)
I assume everyone who donated to the album has their copy by now, so I was wondering how people are enjoying it. I was disappointed at first that there's no epic and not a lot of instrumental sections, it's very much a singer/songwriter album....but I've always loved Pye Hastings' songwriting and think he's in really good form here. Either he or Geoff Richardson plays a couple of pretty tasty guitar solos, esp. on "Trust Me I'm a Doctor"...The title track also has some of the vintage Caravan feel to it (though I wish it was longer than six minutes). If you have the vinyl, it's worth noting that two of the catchiest tracks are CD/download only.
bRETT 21.02.2014 (PROGRESSIVEEARS)
Fast pressfrisch liegt diese neue CD nun im Player. Neugierig bin ich darauf, was die Urgesteine des der Canterbury-Szene zugeordneten Progzweiges nach 11 Jahren des Wartens - The Unauthorised Breakfast item war 2003 erschienen - Neues zu bieten haben. In Unkenntnis der letztgenannten CD muss ich nach wenigen Hördurchgängen feststellen, dass es nix Neues, will heißen, es nichts gibt, was man nicht schon von CARAVAN gehört hätte. Irgendwo zwischen For Girls who...(1973) und dem von der Kritik nicht gerade euphorisch aufgenommenen The Album (1980) scheint für die neue der Ausgangspunkt zu liegen. Das Gründungsmitglied Pye Hastings (g,voc) hat die Sache im Griff, er komponierte 9 der 10 Songs, führt die Gesangsstimme mit den backing vocals, spielt die Rhythmusgitarre, die insgesamt ziemlich in den Vordergrund gemischt ist, und die Soli. Es könnte sich auch um eine Pye-Hastings-Solo-CD handeln. Los geht's mit ALL THIS COULD BE YOURS, das stark an FOR GIRLS... erinnert mit der vordergründigen rhythmguitar und Geoffrey Richardson's viola. Gerade davon wünscht man sich mehr. Strammes Tempo zwar wird angeschlagen - die "Jungs" sind nun auch schon stark um/über 60! -, aber ohne Hektik; mit einer spürbaren Lässigkeit fließt dieser Song ins Gehör. Schöner Ohröffner! Dann wird's mit I'M ON MY WAY eine Spur poppiger und überschaubarer. Einfache Melodieführung und simpler Refrain, mehrstimmig aufgepeppt, ein Dire-Straits-Solo, Refrain, Strophe, Keyboardsolo, das war's. Enttäuschend. Was soll man mehr Worte machen? Es kann nur besser werden. FINGERS IN THE TILL ist schon etwas anspruchsvoller gestrickt. Der Song beginnt balladesk mit Keyboardflächen und ruhig gespielten Gitarrenakkorden über die Pye seine Strophe singt. Der Refrain trägt schonmal Ohrwurmcharakter in sich, wie sich unschwer feststellen lässt. Ein Song, der sich ins Ohr legt und nur schwer zu löschen ist. Etwas in Richtung Edelpop. Eine Rhythmusfigur der etwas härteren Art beginnt THIS IS WHAT WE ARE, ein Song, der sich offenbar mit dem menschlichen Wesen in der heutigen Welt auseinander zu setzen scheint. Leider liegen mir die Lyrics nicht vor und mein Englisch... naja, lassen wir das. Bis dato der beste Titel, da etwas heftiger zugepackt und soliert (Pye Hastings,g, wer sonst?) wird. Akustische Gitarren eröffnen DEAD MAN WALKING, gepaart mit einer Mundharmonika und wenigen Violatönen macht sich eine leichte Krimiatmosphäre breit. Aber um den Hörer wirklich das Fürchten zu lehren, ist das Ganze doch zu harmonisch komponiert. Ein Klaviersolo bringt den Rest der Band ein wenig zum Grooven, was zwar nett zu hören ist, aber wenig bis nichts wirklich Aufregendes anbietet. Ein letztes FAREWELL MY OLD FRIEND ist wohl die Abschiedshymne der Band für den kürzlich verstorbenen Richard Coughlan, der von der Gründung der Band 1968 bis 2010(?) die Drums schlug. Eine Ballade, wie man sie zu diesem Anlass erwarten darf; mit einem schönen Violasolo und ebensolchem Refrain. Stilvoll, mit Würde. Jetzt wird's funky! Aber nicht zu hastig, sonst...PAIN IN THE ARSE! Der Text ist wohl typisch Canterbury. Es klingt alles sehr auf Sparflamme oder, wenn man es positiv ausdrücken möchte, relaxt. Es fehlt das Feuer, wenn man nicht selbst den Kamin anzündet und den Abend mit einem Glas Rotwein genießt oder womit auch immer. Mit TRUST ME I'M A DOCTOR gibt's nun auch noch ein Shanty nach Hasting'scher Art. Ok, who cares? Dass er Soli spielen kann, wissemer nun auch. Dem Ende zu geht's nun langsam mit Mandoline (G.Richardson) und einem Ohrwurmrefrain in I'LL BE THERE FOR YOU. Wieder nett, sehr nett. Das "furiose" Finale beginnen sie ganz ruhig mit paradiesischem Flair bis sie dann wieder kurz ihre Vergangenheit aufblitzen lassen als Hastings einige typische Riffs ins Geschehen schickt. Geoffrey Richardson darf seine angenehme Stimme vorstellen. Vlt. etwas dünn, aber sympathisch. Und so plätschert sie dahin, die Neue von CARAVAN. Keine Experimente, gediegen, teilweise softpoppig, kein Prog, kein Rock, Songs relaxed. Nicht mehr, nicht weniger.
Roland Heil 06.04.2014
Generell bin ich ein Freund von Alterswerken gut gereifter Musiker. Aber mit „Paradise Filter“ habe ich mich etwas schwer getan und kann als alter Caravan-Fan die Enttäuschung meines Vor-Rezensenten gut nachvollziehen. Was hier zu hören ist, ist tatsächlich recht gediegen und hat mit Prog-Rock – außer dem Namen der Band - recht wenig zu tun. „Soft-Pop“ ist allerdings schon ein etwas despektierlicher Ausdruck. Es ist meist softer Rock, der von einer gehörigen Portion Melancholie geprägt ist. Stilistisch wird hier eine Prise Funk, dort etwas Folk und die eine oder andere kleinere Zutat beigemengt. Gelegentlich klingt es auch wie eine Mischung aus Dire Straits, J.J. Cale und Chris Rea mit etwas blassem Gesang. Und von Ferne her meint man auch manchmal die alten Caravan zu hören. 10 Songs in 50 Minuten – da ist wenig Platz für ausgreifende Instrumentalteile. Es sind die Songs nicht die Ausschweifungen, die das Album bestimmen. Und so zieht Song für Song an einem vorbei und die erwartungsvolle Spannung lässt zunehmend nach. Hier und da bleibt etwas hängen – das Robotische in „This is what we are“, die folkige Entspanntheit von „Dead Man Walking“, die wehmütige Geige in „Farewell, My old friend“, die etwas müde Pub-Stimmung in „Trust me, I'm a Doctor“ oder der zarte Ausdruck in „I'll be there for you“ - aber vieles fließt auch einfach so vorbei, ohne im Speziellen einen besonderen Eindruck zu hinterlassen. So bleibt auch bei den flotteren Stücken der Gesamteindruck von sanfter Melancholie mit einem Quäntchen zuversichtlicher Gelassenheit. Einen guten visuellen Eindruck davon gibt das ansprechende Artwork ab. Also eben doch ein Alterswerk, das so klingt wie eines. Im Ergebnis ist das, was Caravan hier bieten, ganz nett, ohne allerdings viel Gewese um sich zu machen. Als Caravan-Fan bin ich schon ein bisschen enttäuscht, da ich mir mehr erwartet hatte. Aber es ist schon okay so. Ehrlich.
Christian Rode 07.05.2014