7D Media/Third Star Records [Release date 19.11.21]
There seems to be a trend amongst aspiring proggers to acquire the services of the “prog-whores” who – in the nicest way possible – lend their talents to any number of albums. In this instance Italian born Marco Mattei has enlisted Tony Levin (King Crimson, Peter Gabriel), Jerry Marotta (Peter Gabriel) and Pat Mastelotto (King Crimson) amongst others. Strangely, Billy Sherwood is absent.
The problem is that this influx of stellar talent cannot always cover up artistic deficiency.
Mattei offers up his first solo album which is a concept piece: many aspects of our lives are not under our control and we should therefore be more sympathetic to others because they are in a similar position.
I am sure the sentiments are heart-felt but the album fails to convince on a number of levels.
Part of the issue is that you will either like or loathe Mattei’s vocal. He seems happiest in a semi-folksy fug, but by the closing track you may feel underwhelmed and slightly irritated. He reminds me of L.Shankar on his most recent solo album but in that example at least some good grooves compensated.
Despite the big beasts on this album, it’s all fairly laid back with no great flashes of instrumentation. When Mattei does rock it up it remains unconvincing as on ‘Anymore’ and ‘Void’.
The standout may be the instrumental ‘Tomorrow’ which shows a stylistic direction which could have been maintained. Mattei even reprises this as ‘After Tomorrow’. A version of Andy Timmons’ ‘Gone’ only serves to reinforce the listener’s incredulity: “Why??”.
And with the countrified nepotism of ‘Lullaby For You’ (Mattei Jr. on intro) we realise that, ultimately, we are indeed “out of control” but for all the wrong reasons. **
Review by David Randall
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FLOYA Epiphany (indie)
TWISTER Own Worst Enemy (indie)
MODERN MIMES Down And Dead (Curtain Call Records)
TUNGSTEN Northern Lights (Arising Empire)
THE GREAT LESLIE Feel Alive (indie)
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