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


Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)


Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.23 | 778 ratings

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3 stars After the highly acclaimed double home run of the 1972 releases, there came L'isola Di Niente a couple years later. PFM were, like Yes, at full stride in this time period and this is a good ablum with two great tracks and three average ones. The real gems here are the title track and "La Luna Nuova." The other three songs have some fine moments but are not of the same quality. The title track begins with dramatic choirs of beautiful voices for about 2 minutes until the band crashes in. A jangly guitar over steamroller bass, cymbal crashes, and vocal. Around 4 minutes is a serene section of acoustic guitar and strings that will slowly evolve back to rock via creeping electric guitar notes. Some of the rock sections sound a bit like what Yes might be doing on Topographic, very adventurous and really throwing all the cards on the table. It's a feast! The ending is a lush electric solo over classical guitar. "Is my face on straight?" features English vocals unfortunately and has its moments but seems dreadfully out of place here. With quite an avant-garde jazz feel like something from McDonald-Giles this is really pretty strange, but such is the spirit of the album I suppose. The instrumentation is fantastic as usual, great bass, guitar, and drumming that would make Bruford and Squire take notice! "La Luna Nuova" has a royal, renaissance, and folky feel and gives in to every impulse. There is some violin and flute along with the fabulous interplay of the group, again the drumming is exceptional. Some of this song would not sound out of place on Gryphon's Red Queen album though other parts rock harder. "Dolcissima Maria" begins with soft vocals and acoustic guitar, then some delicate lead guitar and strings, but very gentle, almost a lullaby. At about 3 minutes they kick it up a notch with drums and bass, and melodic keyboards. "Via Lumiere" starts with some Tony Levin styled lead bass. After this introduction it moves to a crazy fusion section that is loud and aggressive with edgy violin for push the envelope. One can hear bits and pieces of the Jet Lag sound coming into the picture already. For the last 3 minutes it changes back to the Italian symphonic sound with majestic mellotron and guitars but with little spark left of the earlier tracks, it seems they ran out of steam. Neither the fusion chunk nor the symphonic chunk have enough time or ideas to develop into anything truly memorable as they share the same 7 minutes.

My rating for this album is 3 stars. I suppose I could round up and be more in line with consensus but as I re-crunch my system I can't get it above 3 , and I guess I expect a bit more from PFM at this stage. Furthermore, as much as I love Italian, comparing it to a period rival like "Relayer" I believe it falls short of that work. Still this album should be considered as highly recommended to Italian fans and recommended for anyone else who thinks crisp symphonic with some leanings toward fusion sounds tantalizing. The 2004 Japanese mini features some incredible pumped sound for 1974.

Finnforest | 3/5 |


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