SYNDONE – DirtyThirty

Ma.Ra.Cash 2023


Turin art-rockers fathom the depth of their reflection in the memories’ mirror.

While most prog groups seem to consider it de rigueur to work in as many serpentine time signatures as their oeuvre would allow, this ensemble every so often find pleasure in time-tested meters like one used for waltz. And why not do it again, if “DirtyThirty” focuses on the past rather than the future, although old tunes are given a fresh spin here, on the album that may become the Apennine quintet’s farewell – at least, they suggest so. Should such a thing happen, the veterans will have had a good three-decade run, so there’s a reason to celebrate the milestone by casting the collective glance behind and repurposing, or restyling and quoting, familiar melodies to fit a different context – and, thus, offer a new concept for the listener to delve in.

It’s not even about the recent past, the latest memory on display, except for a Japanese reading of “Evelyn” from 2018, floating in from 2014’s "Odysséas" to create the record’s full-orchestra finale which serves up a fitting coda to the band’s entire career. Still, “So Long Everybody – The Time Has Come And I Must Leave You” also emerges as a magnificent reflection of this platter’s recently written titular opener: a tremulous, riff-laden ballad whose flow is histrionically and genuinely dramatic and whose jazzy marriage of piano, organ and vibraphone is riveting even before guitar passages take off and soar higher and higher. And it’s not the heavy, synthesizer-coated jolts of “Fight Club” that impress with their cosmic aggressiveness, and not the pop agenda lifting “Valdrada’s Screen” above the splenetic spin; instead, it’s the ballroom grandeur behind “The Angel” leading Riccardo Ruggeri voice and Simone Rubinato’s bass beyond the veil of reverie, into space, the blues vigor bombarding the chamber and vaudeville layers of “I Spit On My Virtue” with socialist propaganda, and the glam stomp rendering “I Only Ask For A Super Glue” irresistible.

And if “Mary Ann” initially feels superficial, once strings kick in the number’s drift will get transformed into something special, almost magical, just like acoustic strum will set the scene for “René” to turn what formerly was “Magritte” into the most intimate serenade and spiritual wail. However, the angry bombast of “God’s Will” doesn’t have enough melodic sheen in it to justify the revitalizing of “Inca” – until various ivories weave a spell and stream the wonder towards “Thousand Times I Cried” where fusion strands reign supreme. There’s nothing dirty here – the Torino team delivered the purest delights to sign off for good.


February 15, 2024

Category(s): Reviews
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