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Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM) - Per Un Amico CD (album) cover


Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)


Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.42 | 1529 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
3 stars . Not likely I will be the Amico mentioned here , but read me out, anyway!!

After the near-perfection of their debut album, it wasn't going to be an easy task to equal it, and according to the vast majority of their fans, they managed it; but this writer begs to differ: if SDUM is a unique and ultra flowing album, Per Un Amico is really anything but that, more like a succession of rocks scattered on a pool table stopping any pure trajectory from the Q ball. Don't get me wrong, PUA is still quite a good album, but it sounds like it's trying too hard to outdo its predecessor, it sounds a little forced, not as naturally flowing. Even the clumsy gatefold artwork tries to say something profound, but ultimately failing to say it well enough to come out as timelessly as it could have. In that regard, the inner gatefold might just give us an intrusive peak, with the musicians trying to find space between an array of keyboards, but ending up a cacophony. I know it's an image and jusrt a picture, but a picture is worth more than a thousand words doesn't it.

Opening up on the album's best track, Appena Un Poco, with delicate guitar arpeggios emerging from a mellotron layer, it continues alone at first, soon joined by a flute and a harpsichord, before the group intervenes in a fairly muscular fashion, bassist Piazza instilling much of the power. Once the group calms, the duet of singer take the track to a Genesian cloud (Foxtrot-era) partly on celestial mellotron layers, but also good songwriting. The same can't be said of the following Generale sounds more like an ELP track, where the virtuoso qualities seem to be more important and not necessarily to the service of the track, in this case a cross between ragtime jazz and a jig., then into a march and more nonsense. The title track starts out well enough: a quiet flute leading a piano, before the bass escalates the tension and the vocals come along with rest of the group. And it (PUA) seems headed into Gentle Giant territory, especially once the violin gets under way, but unfortunately halfway through the solo, the songs turns to a guitar-strumming-thing, before taking a needlessly (Nothing At All from GG) complicated finale

The flipside is made of just two tracks, the first of which Banchetto (Banquet, I think), which seems to be headed at early Crimson soundscapes, but I am less than thrilled by the Moonchild-like improv with old instruments. One could also compare Banchetto to ELP's Take A Pebble, but anyway, I am not at all convinced by its middle section improv. Generally I am a little wary of those Italian raspy singer spreading all too loudly their gob over the microphone anti-spit protection as they try to sound soooo sincere, but I never had the problem with PFM, a group with gentle unobtrusive vocals and with Banchetto, it's about as raspy as they get. Rounding up the album is the patchy Geranio, which has brilliant moments (namely its quiet start, but with its share of weaknesses: the weird ending.. Ever heard of of an outgoing panache??

A very short album (the International English version of it, Poto of Ghosts will come with two more tracks to make it acceptable), and definitely a taste of too few, but given its forced birth feel, I say that it's enough. And if I gave SDUM some 4.5 stars (it's incredible "live in the studio" excitement), it was partly due to certain kind of naiveté that you can allow on a debut album, but no further; so I will give this second flawed album only 3.5 stars (why didn't they apply the "live in the studio" process??), although still being able to recommend it to progheads, despite my legendary severity. .

Sean Trane | 3/5 |


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