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I Pennelli di Vermeer - Tramedannata CD (album) cover


I Pennelli di Vermeer


Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.00 | 1 ratings

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4 stars Ladies and gentlemen, the progressive ska theater is coming to a theater near you!

Recorded in 2006, released in 2007 this EP is a landmark in the modern Italian prog scene - at least from where I'm standing. Everything has been done before in prog? I don't think so, and Pennelli di Vermeer agree with me. You can mix rock with classical music, and Rush for example included some reggae influences in their music around 1980, so why not put in a bit of ska, opera and theater influences?

The Pennelli members guide us through their musical world on this EP, starting with the opening track Sulla mia Scriviania. This is a short track, opening with the kind of singing you would expect in a theater/musical performance. The electronic bass that follows would in other cases make me turn of the music, but here it develops into a ska like rhythm that catches you, without becoming as poppy as 80s ska-devils Madness. After this, Onde is a more rocky track, with a more explicit role for the guitar, but also a clavinet like keyboard sound. Again, the vocals are almost musical like, interleaved with great instrumental trips. The end of the track is an operetta like 'lalalala' chorus, demonstrating the vocal range of the bands vocalist(s) Pasquale and Marco Sorrentino. La pipa operaia again opens as a clean rock track, but quickly changes to a bass and keys driven tango, accompanying once again well done theatrical vocals. Surprisingly, the instrumental mid section of this almost four minute track comes close to the level of bombast of ELP. Aldiladelladilą with it's disco/dance like intro, is easily the most eclectic among the five tracks. After the intro it quickly slows down into an acoustic guitar and piano piece on top of which the vocals put a layer of complaint. The first verse is followed by a nice instrumental break that combines hints of old Genesis with bluesy guitar riffs and then gives way again to an symphonic second verse, develops into an Arabic like instrumental tune, followed by a Cossack chorus and then travelling back to the Arab world. After this, we are guided to the halls of la Princesa - where the chamber master opens with a megaphone effect vocal. The tune develops into a keyboard driven, almost fully electronic track, with a grrovy background rhythm driven by bass and drums - and it ends with a nice, short guitar solo.

The video track La pipa operaia included on the CD confirms the tango influences in this song - a couple of tango dancers lead the way, accompanied by the band, an old man singing and a crowd dancing to the bombastic mid section.

All in all, a quite different experience from what I've heard in the past year, and definitely a band with it's own unique, eclectic sound. To be checked out and enjoyed with an open mind.

Angelo | 4/5 |


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