Solving sonic puzzles, parmesan purveyors of sweet surrender perceive possibilities of tomorrow.
Back in 2017, when these veterans of Apennine prog returned to the fray after a four-decade intermission, there somehow was no feeling of a fresh chapter opening, despite the band’s rebound being bolstered by an album, and with "A New Chant" not seeing a follow-up there seem to be no bright future for the revitalized ensemble – and yet, the freedom from “knots of doubts” promised then finally found another outlet. Having road-tested their expanded line-up for a couple of years, the original core of singer Bernardo Lanzetti, bassist Franz Dondi and drummer Piero Canavera were invigorated enough to not only tap into the collective’s glorious past but also almost get rid of any cobwebs of Italian art rock’s trademark drama in favor of modern sensuality. More so, liberated stylistically, the musicians located humor in songs that used to sound too serious, and unlocked the force enabling them to charge forward.
It’s never more obvious than in “IA Intelligenza Artificiale” and “White Horse On Dope” – the former a tremulous serenade involving Rossella Volta’s gentle voice, the latter a hysterically unhinged, if alluring, stab of heaviness, with Stef Burns’ guitar licks embroidering Dondi’s deep rumble – yet in order to encounter these jewels the listener need to pass through the rather varied aural experiences. While mellifluous histrionics of “Her Shadow’s Torture” in which Lanzetti’s half-declamatory approach is given a cosmic support from his cowriter Stefano Pantaleoni’s antique organ, futuristic synthesizers and chamber piano enabling the vocalist to reach for tragic heights where Claudio Tuma’s six-string riffs rage, the folk-informed madrigal of the title track acquires an electro-dance groove along the way, and the hair-raising “Malo Bravo” marries symphonic spirituality to fusion frivolity.
And then there’s the effusive rhythm-and-blues of “Black Drone” that David Jackson’s saxes help take off and fly towards the translucent gothic passages of “DD Danz” whose purely instrumental interplay is too cinematically evocative to prepare the audience for the streamlined pop anger fueling “Il Suono Della Voce” which sets the scene for the passionate “Limerence Ethereal” to shift from ballad to space-trucking to hymn. This shift should show but a single example of moving fragments the album’s numbers are filled with – and such perpetual motion can’t fail to impress.