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Qirsh - Sola Andata CD (album) cover




Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.94 | 13 ratings

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4 stars This one was like a crowded hospital, it took a lot of patience (pun on patients), biding my time until the cd finally arrived in my sweat-drenched hands , as I had heard this one on progstreaming, then read Aussie-Byrd- Brother's exuberant critique and , as is often the case with my Oz pal, I ordered it subito. I am glad to report the wait was more than worthy, as this is a truly impressive package from the glittering artwork, the sublime cover (ah, yellow dresses , wink wink !) and a magnificent production and pristine sound. 'The perspiration on my upper lip area' (grazie Franco) grew in intensity as the thin clear plastic was mercilessly torn from the cardboard and the disc slid into my player like Ricky Henderson stealing home plate. These ragazzi have created a thoroughly modern RPI classic that should be the talk of Italian prog, gifted in all facets of instrumental prowess as well as singing their collective hearts out. Have to say that this new breed of Italian proggers have really adapted the illustrious ingredients of past glories and fused them with all the modern accoutrements that make the scene still oh so vibrant. The band's makeup (no, not like Kiss, silly!) is partly responsible, offering dual guitarists, 'duel' keyboardists and a bass/drum tandem of the very highest order. The other main characteristic is the plethora of world-class melodies they come up with and adorning them with amazing sounds and astounding ideas. Bass player Andrea Torello in particular really gets it, shepherding the remaining squadra with tight 10th Legion-like discipline and Pirlo-esque artistic savvy. Old school meets new school, Bravo!

To begin the cheery festivities, the band wastes little time with warming up excuses, though "Artico" is anything but frigid, probably influenced by the sweltering sun-baked beach scene on the cover, a stimulating escapade into classic RPI storytelling (Italians are good at stories). The vocalized imagery conveys inimitable enthusiasm, the buoyed vibrancy of the driving rhythm section going for the beat jugular and not letting go until this album is 'finito'. A truly shimmering introduction to their craft.

If anything, Italians like to leave their foot on the Bugatti pedal so, the highly theatrical and chatty "Mercato Ghardaia" remains a palpitating affair, supremely confident and utterly delightful in all manners of musical expression both vocally and instrumentally. The swoon is overtly Mediterranean, mottled with Carthagian sprinklings, little desert sand in the linguini. Damn, this is great music two tracks in, that old style guitar solo, wow! Brake? We break for lunch, some nice porchetta , eeh!

Sleek like a shining vintage Maserati , "Mayflower" is clearly intended as a quaint reminder of past glories, a whopping PFM-styled melody on the synthesizer that recalls their 70s classic period, you could easily close your eyes and imagine Flavio Premoli massaging his keys with that special flair for the dramatic. "Figli dello Piccolo Padre" owns a bass onslaught that left me panting for air, a scurrying heat-seeking missile that never misses it mark, a spectacular 8 minute+ throbbing rocket urging the screaming synths into even deeper delirium. The sheer pushy remorselessness of the piece is worthy of legendary status, finishing off with a mellotron eargasm. This is a track you fans need to hear, it is startling!

"Finestrino" is another shorter ambient 'pezzo', an interlude between two gargantuan classics, a piano pied piper leading the mood, introducing a violin (real or sampled) and suave orchestration in the background, rolling distant thunder and church bells. I am in awe! Dual ivorymen Leonardo Digilio and Pasquale Arico put on quite a creative display as they do throughout the entire album.

The insistent vocal splendor on the adrenaline-charged "Rianimazione" is immediately seared into one's brain, as the addictive Ultravox-like pulse , courtesy of Marco Fazio seems to hammer away at any glassy attempt to conform, Torello's bopping bass scouring like some famished reptilian monster avid for a meal. This should be anointed as a modern RPI classic, it's that splendid! When the two guitarists Daniele Olia and Michele Torello strap on their axes, the mood gets even more frantic, slashes and screeches becoming the norm.

Enter the 21st century with the tectonic "Malaria", an electro-prog arrangement that will kick you in the Ferraro Rocher nuts, as insistent vocoded effects of the very highest caliber are propelled by a fearsome bass, chunky drumming and carnal guitar rants, as the battery of smoking synths illuminate the stars. This is also extraordinary in both quality and creativity, probably my fave cut here.

Back to more classic style with the lyrical storytelling of "Vento Delle Isole", a breezy, almost pastoral canzone, loaded with accordion, acoustic guitar, mellotron and choir humming. Yes, I said 'choir humming'! The two-part finale "La Nebbia" offers a dense melancholia that will tear at one's heartstrings, something these lads do oh so very well. Moody, lively, spectral and impassioned, the meandering melodies evoke profound passions and the mood is quite exceptional.

My grandfather once famously stated "Italy is not a country, it's a theater!". Yes, so they talk with the hands, they live life like a Ferrari, live to eat, drink and love. And do it kind of stylishly. Qirsh has a killer debut in "Sola Andata", right up there with new debutantes Mad Fellaz, Ad Maiora, Egonon, Ingranaggi dele Valle, Phoenix Again and Unreal City. The future bodes well for 'la bella Italia'.

4.5 No U-turns

tszirmay | 4/5 |


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