Milano art-rockers keep the perspective clean to get a full view of a classical landscape.
Comprised of members of two popular Italian prog acts, this inauspiciously named collective debuted in 2013 with a self-titled album and build on its foundation on their second record. Hardly breaking up the genre canon, “From A Distance” demonstrates a trait many ensembles of such ilk have long lost: an ability to create in a spur of the moment or at least sound like they’re improvising. That’s the impression which sets in from opener “Wait For Me,” as Paolo Botta rocks his organ hard and heavy until the grind dissolves in keyboard-delivered dewdrops and Alessio Calandriello pours pining into the piece’s anxious swirl, yet this nervousness gets a funky drive for “Flying Over Cities” whose riffs have a cosmic edge to them.
Piano, cello and woodwind reign in the theatrically arresting instrumental “Aru Hi No Yoru Deshita” but there’s not a lot of chamber ambience in here and, bolted by Alessandro Cassani’s bass, “Pleasure Of Drowning” spills into the metal realm and out of the overall context. Guitarist Francesco Zago left the fold once the album was done and dusted – short, Grieg-inspired closer “Farewell” is the band’s goodbye to their main writer – yet his lines weigh mightily on the harder cuts and his strum is inextricably woven into the ballad DNA of “Not Now” which grows in loudness and gets sharp as it flows. The contrast is even crisper on “I Feel Like Snowing” once its bittersweet second part kicks in, whereas “The Diary I Never Wrote” puts all the elements of the ensemble’s modus together to a great, emotional effect.
And here’s a nice angle to the album’s title: it might be dangerous to get too close to this tangle of feelings, and it would be hard to see it all being near, yet stepping away allows one to marvel at the ominous, if beckoning, signs.