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Osanna - Palepoli CD (album) cover




Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.24 | 362 ratings

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3 stars This is such a difficult album to write about, like trying to write about the most bizarre psych freak-outs or trying to discuss a 40 minute live version of the Dead's "Dark Star." Some things need to be heard to be understood. Having just reviewed Marsupilama's "Arena" I could say that this album shares that one's spirit of theatrics and boldness, but taking it to a much further extreme. They really are sound collages as much as anything and will require many listens over a long period of time to appreciate. If you believe the spirit of progressive rock is more about pushing boundaries over other considerations then this is an album you need to hear. As I look at how our distinguished pros have tackled writing about such chaos I found one PR who hit a home run. Atavachron (David) hits the nail on the head perfectly with this fabulous description from his review here: "The session has an inviting, casual tone wherein everyone is welcome to listen and even participate, deep dreams and strange parties abound, plenty of texture, sensuality and odd people... like watching an orgy but not sure if you should join in. The set reminds at times of modern theater as well (i.e. 'Hair'), but shouts out with heavy mercury and constant invention." Indeed!

Osanna formed in 1971 in Naples with member of Citta Frontale. Having success with two earlier albums and playing on the festival scene they released their most provocative work "Palepoli" in 1973. Guitarist Rustici is a legend of the Italian progressive scene and ever produced his younger brother's masterful "Melos" by Cervello. Their live shows were equally strange with the members painting their faces and employing other theatrics. There is much here to absorb for fans of wild music, different ideas and sections come and go as fast as nervous birds at a backyard feeder. Psyched up electric guitars, mellotron, sax, lots of flute, chanting, singing, loud, quiet, street noises, percussion, all drifting along like a strange lucid dream. And yet I can't agree that this album is a total masterpiece. I respect the boldness and variety enough to call it a very good album, but beyond that, I don't much enjoy playing Palepoli as I do other Italian prog. I need more than boldness and being provocative, I need music to connect on an emotional level to proclaim it a masterpiece. Whereas I'm always eager to grab Alusa Fallax or Cervello, listening to Palepoli is more like a duty I must perform to appease the prog Gods. Parts of it are definitely very enjoyable but as a whole it leaves me a bit cold. I readily accept the fact that maybe I just don't "get it" completely and I will continue to listen in the future to see if it someday clicks-perhaps it's a grower that I haven't spent enough time with yet. For me, younger brother Corrado made the better album with Cervello's "Melos." There you will find elements of the Osanna sound, but rather than relying on the wildness of Palepoli there is a bit more care on crafting the songs that leads to a more musically satisfying album. Try them both and see what you think. They are both giants of the hard side of Italian prog. Palepoli's Japanese mini is a gatefold of the very highest quality, highly recommended if you can find it. I'm somewhere between 3 and 4 stars on this, rounding down for now until I truly "get it."

Finnforest | 3/5 |


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