Although the new studio album from ‘Premiata Forneria Marcon’i (aka PFM) seems much more vocally orientated than their normal full on instrumental progressive style it still contains a wealth of wonderfully melodic symphonic enchantment. The busy double fronted keyboard approach of ‘Alessandro Scaglione’ and ‘Alberto Bravin’ are particularly prominent in the compositional arrangements as they ebb and flow together providing a backdrop of delightful melody allowing the lead guitar and violin to burst forth with joyful majesty.
The entire album is a preverbal kaleidoscope of wonderfully warm harmonic sound which deftly combines elements of both classical, symphonic progressive rock plus a large smattering of other Celtic influenced sounds into a beautiful single entity. Of course in the mix one cannot in any way disregard the exquisite and totally hypnotic bass lines which frequently come to the fore almost as a third lead instrument. Then in the driving seat the delicate but more complex considered style of the drumming, this as opposed to a crash bash forceful impact style of time keeping,. The subtle percussive additions to the music become more and more apparent, after listening to the album a couple of times, with such modulations similar to the Irish ‘bodhrán’ and other tuneful bell like tinkling’s.
Not realizing at first that that the two CDs were in fact just one set of songs but with CD1 sung in English and CD2 in sung the Italian language. I firstly proceeded with CD1 where I definitely encountered slight reservations about the vocal side of things, not that they are delivered in any way at all badly. It was though when moving over to CD2 and for me the whole thing suddenly burst into life. The impact of the Italian vocals suddenly sounded totally perfect and elevated the vocal style from just ordinary to excellent. Great intonation wonderful phrasing and certainly ‘Bel Canto’ comes to mind.
Summary: A wonderfully symphonic album full of interesting engaging music. Certainly one to have in your music collection.
Artwork: Typically extravagant Italian in style.
Franz Di Cioccio: lead vocals, drums
Patrick Djivas: bass
Alessandro Scaglione: keyboards, Hammond, Moog
Lucio Fabbri: violin
Marco Sfogli: guitars
Roberto Gualdi: drums
Alberto Bravin: keyboards, backing vocals
CD 1 – English version (62:01) 1. We're Not An Island (7:12) 2. Morning Freedom (6:06) 3. The Lesson (5:08) 4. So Long (5:56) 5. A Day We Share (6:03) 6. There's A Fire In Me (4:55) 7. Central District (5:27) 8. Freedom Square (4:47) 9. I'm Just A Sound (5:57) 10. Hannah (5:16) 11. It's My Road (5:07)
CD 2 – Italian version (62:01) 1. Il Regno (7:12) 2. Oniro (6:06) 3. La lezione (5:08) 4. Mayday (5:56) 5. La danza degli specchi (6:03) 6. Il cielo che c'è (4:55) 7. Quartiere generale (5:27) 8. Freedom Square (4:47) 9. Dalla Terra alla Luna (5:57) 10. Le cose belle (5:16) 11. Big Bang (5:07) Note: The vinyl version includes the English version and both Italian & English version on two extra CDs