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Tugs - Europa Minor CD (album) cover




Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.83 | 41 ratings

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4 stars The last few years have seen many Italian seventies prog bands reforming with Alphataurus, Museo Rosenbach and Biglietto Per L'Inferno to name a few, all releasing new studio material. Another that can be added to that list is Tugs, a band from Livorno who were a little late for the golden years forming at the back end of the decade. Perhaps partly for this reason they never managed to release any music and split up in the early eighties. Now they're back to finish what they started and Europa Minor sees the completion of an album originally intended for release over thirty years ago. Perhaps this has been a blessing in disguise as vocalist/guitarist Pietro Contorno stated in a recent interview that the band severely lacked the resources and all but the basic instruments to realise the project. Now they have had the opportunity to record the music the way they visualised it at the time and have been able to add a diverse range of instruments including violins, flute, accordion and mandolin alongside their standard rock band instrumentation.

Europa Minor certainly doesn't sound like a debut album, but then I guess they've had a long time to plan it. It's a very ambitious project based on European history - where would you start with that! With Waterloo actually which sounds more celtic than Italian but as the album progresses it becomes apparent that fellow countrymen PFM are a strong influence. Their symphonic/folk prog is not exclusively Italian based though and the bands claims of being Influenced by British prog such as Camel, Mike Oldfield and Jethro Tull will not go unnoticed. It's a remarkably mature piece of work with strong musicianship without going for overly flash, everyone playing their part perfectly. There are moments of bombast with heavier guitar riffing but that's not what Europa Minor is about, rich melodies and tastefully restrained instrumentation weaving together to form an intricate whole being the order of the day.

A strong debut for sure then which would have been unlikely to have sounded anywhere near as good as this if they'd managed to release it back in the seventies. Hopefully now they've got it out at last they'll go on to release some new music. On the strength of this I certainly hope so.

Nightfly | 4/5 |


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