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Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM) - L'Isola Di Niente CD (album) cover


Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)


Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.23 | 782 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars The foremost Italian prog unit delivered one of this reviewer's favourite slices of symphonic rock to follow two classicly better-received albums. "L'Isola di Niente" is a well-balanced tour-de-force and a keystone (along with Genesis' "Foxtrot") in what I like to call "magical prog" - gentle, instrumentally textured and upbeat music with a surprisingly poetic, whimsical bent that still manages to have a sting in its tail. The tea party scene from Alice in Wonderland appears vividly to me while I listen to this fantastic album, and not just because of the simple lyrical cues in "Is My Face on Straight?". Whatever this album's true message may be, this reviewer ascribes it the following moral: "Be content and comfortable in your oddity."

Side A is outstanding and deserves a little examination. The title track is a cute, segmented mini-epic which flits between chorale, Crimsonic hard rock and PFM trademarked keyboard-guitar interplay to produce a decidedly luscious ride - baffling but pleasantly so, like a trip through the seasons in a much more pro-rock way than Vivaldi could have imagined. It ends mysteriously, as if the musicians were winding up to repeat the whole piece, but fades out instead - a shame, since PFM albums are often so short, another five minutes added to the glory of "L'Isola di Niente" would have been perfectly welcome. "Is My Face on Straight?" is lusher still, although at times it becomes a little dubious - the english lyrics don't necessary feel at home on this otherwise Italian language album - especially as this reviewer finds Sinfield's lyrics eternally ham-handed and cringeworthy - and the power chorus moments can feel a little vacuous. Even so, in more subtle stretches, the enduring romantic italian sensibilities shine through.

Side B is a little more peculiar, featuring cod-classical moments ala The Nice or Collegium Musicum - but much more tasteful than those supposedly erudite rock bands ever got. There's also folk, traditional songwriting, Oldfield-inspired guitar lines and even a jazz-funkified jam - although not in a "Jet Lag" way - that ascends into a glamorous, sweeping mellotron outro.

I have come close to rewarding "L'Isola di Niente" the full five stars, and if I was more symphonically inclined there wouldn't even have been a decision involved. Bear this in mind - my tastes lie elsewhere, yet this inspired record is still up there with my most beloved!

laplace | 4/5 |


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