ARMONITE – And The Stars Above

Purple Pyramid 2018

ARMONITE - And The Stars Above

ARMONITE –
And The Stars Above

Per aspera ad astra: Apennine art-rockers concentrate on celestial affairs to comprehend what’s happening around them.

It was clear upon the release of 2015’s "The Sun Is New Each Day" that violinist Jacopo Bigi and keyboard player Paolo Fosso returned to the fray for good, and its follow-up provides a proof of their intense intent s a well-paced progression from frenzy to serenity and back again and a crimson hue to this trip beyond the pale. While the previous album’s “Satellites” promised interstellar alchemy, “The March Of The Stars” would deliver on such a pledge in spectacularly timeless manner by immersing the listener in scintillating vocal swirl whence strings and ivories would emerge most delicately – only to start a solid, orchestral assault on all the senses, with riffs to the fore to reflect on a phantom menace they outline here.

It would bristle and bulge in the tribal, techno-esque, groove of “Next Ride” whose quite-to-loud electric dynamics are quite bewildering, but the desert grace behind “District Red” would wash confusion in an after-hours urban stampede, heavy` elegant, before taking the adventurous drift toward “Plaza De España” whose pictorial solemnity seems rather surreal in the woozy telepathy between the piano and the bow. There’s sweet weightless wobble to “Clouds Collide” – another song the duo caress with their gentle touch – which gets shattered once organ and Colin Edwin’s bass press “Blue Curaçao” for rock action, as opposed to baroque polyphony unfolding in “By Heart” despite its subsequent funky rumble. What’s much more surprising is a ragtime vibe set in the space-out “Freaks” where synthesizer waves rule the day and make the proceedings spectral enough so “Ghosts” could shimmer and shake.

The record also has a Renaissance motif framing “By The Waters Of Babylon” in a psalm-befitting grandeur – detailed in a couple of bonus tracks that separate two leading instruments – to contrast “The Usual Drink” which is suspended in slo-mo, creating momentum for the slalom-like “What’s The Rush?” and letting metal rage in. The results will occasionally feel chaotic but as a simulation of stars’ trajectories the album is as good as it gets, and each new spin can help discerning ear in mapping out this pleasure.

***2/3

November 13, 2018

Category(s): Reviews
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