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Le Orme - Elementi CD (album) cover

ELEMENTI

Le Orme

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.86 | 131 ratings

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Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Having rediscovered their creative enthusiasm making the 1996 album "Il Fiume", Le Orme returned five years later with the second volume in what would eventually become a loosely-bound trilogy drawn around the endless cycles of life and nature: good thematic fodder for a re-born Progressive Rock band. The new music was even more overtly, unashamedly Proggish than before, composed as if in preparation for another NEARfest performance, with louder synths, less acoustic guitars, and a not unattractive air of dramatic bombast.

The cloud within that silver lining was an unfortunate tendency toward Neo-Prog posturing, perhaps a natural side-effect of the band's renewed vigor and confidence. You can hear it clearly in Aldo Tagliapietra's insecure electric guitarmanship, and in an unconvincing opening synthesizer motif sounding like Tony Banks working through a mid-life crisis. Francesco Satori's elegant acoustic piano from "Il Fiume" is missed, but the expressive violin of newcomer Andrea Bassato brings the music closer to the classic RPI ideals of Le Orme's youth. It's too bad his skills are underutilized here.

In its better moments, and especially during the purely instrumental breaks ("Danza Della Terra"; "Danza Della Pioggia"; the cool sitar groove of "Dove Tutto »!"), the album presents a calculated, crowd-pleasing throwback to Golden Age Progressive Rock excellence, performed by veterans. And yet the contrarian spoilsport in me has a nagging reservation or two. I have to wonder if Le Orme are simply opportunists switching musical hats with each new decade, from psychedelic boppers in the 1960s to Prog Rock stars in the 1970s to synth-pop wannabes in the '80s...and then just as quickly taking their prog-colored duds out of mothball storage when the twenty-year nostalgia cycle turned 360-degrees.

Too much of the album sounds like a retro-Prog contrivance rather than a natural artistic impulse: the sort of Prog-by-numbers experience that excites our more conservative instincts (and isn't a conservative Proghead the ultimate oxymoron?) But at the end of the day it's the music that actually matters, not the amateur five-and-dime critical analysis from a nitpicking party pooper. On its own terms this would have to be considered one of the strongest Le Orme albums since the late 1970s. But the '70s ended a long time ago...

Neu!mann | 3/5 |

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