Inside Out [Out Now]
Andy Tillison is a man whose opinion I value and truly respect. Many times in the past has the leader of the The Tangent sung the praises of the Italian Rock combo Premiata Forneria Marconi (aka PFM) and it has been his insistence in doing so during a recent conversation of ours which convinced me to undertake the task of reviewing the septet’s latest musical offering “Emotional Tattoos”.
Italians are known for their innate propensity towards melody and so I was not at all surprised to discover that the eleven compositions that put together this expertly crafted album are amongst the catchiest you will find released under the banner of Inside Out Records.
Had it not been for Patrick Djivas’ intricate bass themes in songs like “The Lesson” and Roberto Gualdi’s discrete but fairly intelligent drum parts throughout the album, one would be excuse in believing that “Emotional Tattoos” is the work of a Pop band, albeit one clearly influenced by the works of latter day Genesis.
From the moody keyboard intro of “We’re Not And Island” to the closing tunes of the groove-laden “It’s My Road”, the listener will be rewarded with high quality keyboard/Hammond melodies courtesy of Alessandro Scaglione while fans of Collins-era Genesis will find various references of the Englishman’s work in Franz Di Cioccio’s vocal performances.
Even though I found quite a few of the compositions on offer to be to my liking it would be criminal of me not to mention “Morning Freedom” as my personal highlight with “Freedom Square”, a delightful & masterly executed instrumental piece, coming second on the ‘photo finish’.
For a band that has been active in the music business for a good forty seven (!) years, Premiata Forneria Marconi manage to sound quite fresh and relevant, a truly admirable achievement indeed.
Fans of melody-focused Rock that also enjoy a few cleverly-calculated ‘twists and turns’ in their music will most certainly fall for “Emotional Tattoos” while the band’s decision of including an additional CD with the same eleven tracks performed in their native language should really please their Italian followers.
Review by Ioannis (John) Stefanis
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