Esoteric Antenna [Release date: 13.10.17]
Italy does progressive rock very well even if the indigenous talent struggled to broach export markets until front-runners Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM) got picked up in 1973 by Emerson Lake & Palmer’s vanity label Manticore with ‘Photos of Ghosts’.
Bernardo Lanzetti worked vocal duties with the band between 1975 and ’77 prior to which he had fronted this, albeit second-tier, highly effective prog peer. Acqua Fragile’s back catalogue has been doing the rounds of late and for many genre fans the resurrection has constituted their initial introduction to its music.
Clearly, they are sufficient in number to prompt the band’s original members out of their lairs to record this set a mere 44 years later. So … sharp intake of breath – does it all work? Most resoundingly Si! it works very well. The fact is the trio has done a great job of generating an entirely new album that dovetails with its predecessors without being self-reverencing or lazily borrowing from the past.
Catchy guitar/keyboard-driven compositions are sprightly in form, rich in disposition (even if Lanzetti’s tremolo can veer to the operatic on occasion), enhanced by swathes of synth and strings and glockenspiel (even!).
The pace varies most satisfactorily, ‘Wear Your Car Proudly’ chopping up time signatures befitting the best of the Shulman Brothers, a foreboding ‘The Drowning’, bookended by opener and closers, respectively the sweeping ‘My Forte’ and the title track, excitedly exhorting us to “Join With Us – All Rise! All Rise” – and we do: because this is a rewarding return to the world stage of progressive music that is truly molto grande! ****
Review by Peter Muir
On Sunday 28 July 2019, David Randall celebrated his 600th show. “Assume The Position” started in June 2007 on UK City Radio before transferring a year later to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio. The show includes tracks played on the first show plus Upton Blues Festival highlights, new music and the regular features “Live Legends” and “Anniversary Rock” which this week celebrates the Island Records label 60th anniversary.
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Power Plays w/c 19 August (Mon-Fri)
BEFORE FIRE Dead Eyes (indie)
SCOTT & MARIA Never Give Up (indie)
CORELEONI Queen Of Hearts (AFM Records)
BERLIN Transcendance (Cleopatra Records)
PHIL CAMPBELL These Old Boots (Nuclear Blast)
PHIL LANZON Blue Mountain (Phil Lanzon Ditties/Cargo Records UK)
Featured Albums w/c 19 August (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 SOLEIL MOON Warrior (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 ROXY BLUE Roxy Blue (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 DREW HOLCOMB & THE NEIGHBORS Dragons (Magnolia Music/Thirty Tigers)
Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)
BRIAN ROBERTSON – Diamonds And Dirt (2011)
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