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Era Di Acquario - Antologia CD (album) cover


Era Di Acquario


Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.18 | 23 ratings

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3 stars Yet again, 1973 Italy. My God, what was in the water?

I know y'all are probably sick to death of my reviews about '73 Italy being the musical epicenter of the universe. I can't help it. Here's another one. This one is quite different from those heavy, harsher Semiramis/YS type masterpieces that everyone raves about. This one is barely prog as we normally think of it. "Antologia" is an album of beautiful, short pop/rock songs with a light prog feel, made up of two distinct types of tracks. The first style of song is a dreamy, mellow acoustic guitar music with flute and bongo type drums. The second style are more upbeat rock tracks with high pitched Trolls-like vocals and US west coast hippie rock rhythm sections. The mellow acoustic songs are the winner for me because the guitar playing is very good and the flute equally impressive. When combined with their success at extraordinary melodies you get some very successful, lovely, memorable songs. While not a progressive masterpiece or even a prog necessity, I'm giving it 3 stars based on the strength of the pastoral half which I find very moving without being cheesy. I was recently spinning a very prestigious album by one of the Italian "big 3" and while that album is technically better and more "prog", if I had to pick between the two I would keep this little Era album over that one because it has a certain hard to define purity in the mellow stuff that I really like. The rock stuff is fine but not of the same level as the acoustic stuff.

I am really bummed that I was unable to unearth more history on these guys, I tried and found very little. Sadly I did find that Michele Seffer has passed away in 2006 at only age 56. The band formed in Palermo in the early '70s and got known through the Festival scene of course. After this album they added a fourth member in preparation for another album which of course never happened, in the grand tradition of the Italian one-shots. The guitarist Seffer had a brief stint in Il Volo a few years later.

"Campagne Siciliane" starts the album with one of the most beautiful melodic songs you will ever hear. This track was worth getting the CD for me. Dual acoustics playing different parts out of each speaker, with the most chilling melancholy flute part. The progression sounds a bit like "Colour My World" from Chicago. Then there is bass and hand percussions to lift the mood a bit. Beautiful stuff. Watch the video clip of this track on their artist page and you'll know exactly what you're getting with this band, although remember the album sounds much better than an old TV clip and features more guitar and bass. "Padre Mio" shifts to their second style which is pop/guitar rock and is a well done piece with vocals and aggressive flutes. "Idda" is another well constructed pop song with very pleasant vocal verses answered by big harmonies on the choruses, a bit like Crosby/Still/Nash would do. "Solitudine" like the first track is what makes Era very special to me: contemplative, gorgeous instrumentals with acoustic guitars, flute, and hand percussion. "Vento D'Africa" is yet another, little gems that are as pretty as any Italian prog you've heard. These kinds of tracks are like laying out in the grass on a spring day and feeling the wind. Like you did as a kid. "Monika Aus Wien" is yet another one. Perfect acoustic and bass, flute, and melodies that bring memories rushing back from the past. "L'Indifferenza" brings back a vocal and a darker tone with ominous operatic harmonies and tension. The amazing flute work is a great contrast to the darkness. Very good track. The last 3 tracks will shift back to more of the pop sound. "Fuori al Sole" is an excellent pop song with a 60s feel like The Byrds or Buffalo Springfield but with a bit of flute. Nice electric lead guitar. "Geraldine" is similar but with the falsetto vocals. "Statale 113" is an instrumental closer with acoustic, drums, and more great flute. The chords and lead guitar remind me a bit of the Airplane.

A great bet for Italian fans though not essential to others, and admittedly not the best example of what is traditionally accepted as the great Italian prog. No big keyboards to be found and nothing experimental. But music (and reviewing) is not an exact science, and this little gem is 3 very affectionate stars. What sounds very simple in the best tracks here is really far from it, it's very eloquently crafted stuff.

Finnforest | 3/5 |


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