Marrying comedy with drama, Piedmont proggers enter another comfort zone.
The Turin troupe’s inherent theatricality has never let sarcasm seep through to the sweet surface of their songs – until now, when titles of “Kama Sutra” tracks hint at several well-known hits without pandering to parody scavengers. Such a variety, together with the elusiveness of concept on this record, makes it truly irresistible even to those who flinch from listening to Italian ensembles’ usual pop operatics. There’s still juxtaposition the sextet’s aficionados adore so much, as “Sacred & Profane” outlines quite eloquently, only the humorous slant seems deliberately distanced presently from the duality of "Eros & Thanatos" where love and death were tightly entwined to be forcefully decoupled here to a great effect.
The band may distance themselves from myths they tend to shape on their albums by letting “It’s Only Make Believin'” begin this one with a perfect instance of cosmic hard rock and marry multifaceted ivories assault, a mélange of Moog and Hammond, to Simone Rubinato’s mighty bass rumble before Riccardo Ruggeri’s vocals creep into the aural picture to set the scene for a haunting, if half-hysterical, drama which will kick in when chorale harmonies of a piano-propelled “Nirvana” are unraveled to a great polyphonic effect. Yet while instrumental funfair “Carousel” offers an orchestral swirl, frisky and solemn in equal measure, “Into The Kama” is a tremulous serenade that must melt the hardest of hearts – and win it once the piece’s Eastern-flavored coda has elevated the spirit of love to the heavenly realm, only for the heavy groove of “Bitches” to break the spell and drench the cut’s riff in strings.
So there’s no surprise in the fusion aria of “You Still Shine” being followed by the sway of “Sex Toys R Us” – given a bit of raga, a few lines of spoken word, a deranged sax lick and a smattering of symphony – but, weirdly, the momentum gets lost on the aforementioned “Sacred & Profane” which can feel too eclectic: something that’s bound to eventually reveal a method to the madness as well as proper grandeur to the epic. Here’s the reason why, flowing in its wake, the anthemic “We Are The World We Created” is logically turned into a majestic hymn and then to a progressive tour de force, and why the simple “Peace On Earth” brings forth so logical a finale. The Torino ensemble have covered a wide area and come a long way for this magnificent opus – and it was worth the effort.