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Lagartija - Amore Di Vinile CD (album) cover

AMORE DI VINILE

Lagartija

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.49 | 5 ratings

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Finnforest
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Subdued cool

Lagartija are a band from Piacenza whom I've followed since shortly after their 2008 formation, so it's a nice coincidence my 300th RPI review would be their 3rd album. "Amore di vinile" (Lizard Records) follows the enthusiastically received "Particelle" from 2011. While I think it might ultimately end up somewhat less appreciated than its catchier predecessor I don't think there's anything here that should disappoint. This album finds the band in a moodier yet flowing space, contemplative, a subdued cool if you will, somewhat more refined and again well matched to the color and feel of the band's cover art. The complaint about this album may be it's noticeable lack of "edge", things seem smoother, downbeat, and dreamy. But it worked well for me and I liked it right away. Aliani's vocals are as alluring as ever while the guitar work of Libe and Poggi remains nuanced and delicate to this listener. Michele Molinari is a gifted, nimble-on-his-feet percussionist while Christian Piga adds leads saxophone to the sound.

As always Mazzy Star is a band that comes to mind when I hear Lagartija but such comparisons are mere convenience and never quite accurate. Lagartija does have a psych element but it is less obvious and with more jazzy sheen than Mazzy, who put so much more fuzz and distortion on their guitar. Things here are cleaner in sound and arguably more expressive although "Fermo" is a good example of the Mazzy reference. The guitar work is ever present and just exquisite but absolutely subtle, while the horns play a less prominent role that previous works. Solos are toned down rather than screaming at you. Yet there remains the great care and joy present in their interplay, which has become a Lagartija trademark. Everyone is always contributing so beautifully and you can hear everyone well. There is a markedly less heavy feel than "Particelle" and yet those same awesome progressions are there beneath the leaves....it's just a less windy day so it provides a different appreciation. Lagartija have some of the finest instincts for chord progressions and unexplored avenues. "Ferrovia" could be the soundtrack of a film noir bar, while "Ottobre" evokes the fading light of the outdoors of autumn. Perhaps they wanted to experiment with a stripped down feel, yet stay in the electric realm. One can almost hear there songs in a fully unplugged and acoustic setting--yet I'm glad they didn't, because I like the extra colors available. Listen to the finale of "Anomalie" and the guitars become rainfall, very reminiscent of some effects from Steve Wilson's first solo album. Lagartija remain an outlier in both RPI and progressive rock in general. I find their refusal to participate in all the forced eclecticism and self professed cerebral exercises to be their greatest strength. This is an album I want to listen to, not one I'm "supposed" to exalt per the experts. It moves me and it conjures a pleasant place.

Call it refinement, maturity, whatever, but "Amore di vinile" is an excursion that refuses to beat you over the head. You can unplug yourself and melt into this album's many pleasures or you can move on to something more adrenalized. Lately I've been much more into the latter, but I'm so glad I pulled the car off the road for this one. Somewhere in that 3-4 star range. Nice job L! (and still waiting for that interview back!)

Finnforest | 4/5 |

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