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Malibran - La Cittą Sul Lago CD (album) cover




Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.39 | 28 ratings

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4 stars Malibran's "La Citta Sul Lago" comes on the heels of two very commendable past efforts that had some fine progressive moments and certainly had all the ingredients to establish a nice little career. The Sicilian band has some identifiable traits none more obvious than a heavy flute and saxophone presence in the able lungs of Giancarlo Cutuli. Keyboardist Benny Torrisi is typical of the Italian school, very ornate on piano and masterful in coloring the symphonic backdrop with synths and trons. Guitarist Jerry Litrico can howl with the best of them and is no slouch while Italian prog generally can always boast of superior bass and drum combos, no exception to the rule here. These "friends" have been around for over 20 years now and it shows in this their best album yet but the weak vocals are a hard nut to crack as it can easily grate on even enthusiastic ears. From the opening "Distanze" the languid groove is set, as each track has a life of its own. "Nuovo Regno" introduces the various soloists, so as to get a keen picture of their abilities. The singing is in Italian and it comes across fine. The instrumental title track is where the trip really takes off, a synth, bass and flute led excursion to the "City on the Lake" , morphing into a wah-wah drenched furrow that liberates the imperial sax from its bonds and rips with sheer abandon. The track has a reminiscence of the Gong classic "Isle of Everywhere" off the "You" album. Litrico's extended solo has a bluesier tone than Hillage but the exhilaration is definitely there. This is an exceptional track that simmers along nicely. When Cutuli throws in a sorrowful flute lament and the acoustic guitar chimes in, the arrangement veers into another lane, with an effect laden slinky solo. "In the Time Part 1 &2" is a bit difficult to like because the raspy heavily accented singer deflects the pleasure a tad but the music is great nevertheless. Why can't the Italians just stick to their fascinating native tongue, "fer crayin out lewd"? "Magica Attesa" is a folky breeze overtly flaunting the flute, interluding gently until the beat kicks in, very Tullish, proving convincingly that these guys have the instrumental side down pat, with another howler from Jerry Litrico's "electrico" guitar. "La Stagione Del Re" shows that when singer Beppe Scaravelli chooses his native lingo, he doesn't force the notes and the sounds flow delicately from his mouth, an acoustic folk background enchants further, uncomplicated. "Nuvole di Vetro" (Glass Clouds) Part 1 features more limpid flute flights (the quintessential Italo-prog instrument in my opinion), with more windswept Italian vocals and a delicate acoustic lilt and Part 2 , interjects a heftier buzz with ripping guitars, choppy organ and polyrhythmic chaos but maintaining the softer singing! Nice twist! The choir mellotron works in tandem with the driving guitar, finally liberating a sublime saxophone solo that shimmers brightly. Such an evocative yet underused prog instrument! So next up is a very short "Interludio" serving up some more gentle blowing! The epic "On the Lightwaves" sadly returns to the lousy English vocal delivery that just creeps nastily into your mind, sabotaging the contrasting themes. Doctor Cutuli's flute comes to medicate the pain somewhat but the disease is way too rife. An awe-inspiring and elongated lead guitar solo helps forget momentarily the nuisance. The non-vocal "Richiami" is a Middle Eastern flute riff that ends on some soft axe leads.Beautiful booklet artwork and great sound as well. Just stay away from Shakespeare and stick to Dante Alleghieri! 4 corleones.
tszirmay | 4/5 |


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