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Murple - Io Sono Murple CD (album) cover




Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.91 | 185 ratings

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3 stars A band. A penguin. Another Italian gem.

The next installment of the Italian lesser-know gems series would be Murple, a 4-piece one-shot band from Rome. They formed in 1973 at the peak of the early Italian scene and recorded their concept album about a penguin and his adventure. If it sounds too whimsical don't be put off-there is good music to be had here. The band premiered their live act at a festival in Naples and also played the Villa Pamphili Festival in Rome in September 1974. Their album is a nice mixture of symphonic and rock elements with just a touch of jazzy feel here and there. I would say keyboards are slightly more prevalent than guitar but not by much, both are used liberally. I can't speak to the lyrics, but the music is certainly not dark, but rather upbeat, positive, energetic prog perhaps sometimes comparable to the feel of Druid but only a bit. While the album has plenty of fans it was not appreciated by critics of the time, nor was it promoted by the German label that issued it. It and the band shared the same fate as so many other quality Italian groups. But now thankfully a new generation of critics is praising this lost album and word has it that three of the four original members have a new album in the works.

Part 1 begins with an extended quiet section where a distant synth backs some guitar pull-offs, bringing the song to life very slowly. It crescendos at 2 minutes with a drum solo. The band springs to life around 3 minutes in with organ and guitars off to the races. The bass and drumming are quite good although the bass is too low in the mix for my taste. Around 7 minutes the rocking stops for gorgeous piano leading to the first vocals. Murple vocals are not the best you'll ever hear but they are certainly good enough. What is great are the keyboards, nicely thought-parts well delivered via synths, organ, and piano, sometimes layered over each other to gorgeous effect. The classical piano sections are achingly beautiful to a piano nut like myself. The guitar player is also very good and lays down some nice, aggressive lead parts throughout. The Murple sound mixes well different thematic elements and volumes. The pieces move along with loud rock sections and softer melodic sections intertwined and always interesting. As others have mentioned the keyboards and guitars join together often creating a very rich sound tapestry. Towards the end of the side the lead guitar and bass engage in some feisty riffing punctuated by some rather shrill synth tricks that could have been left out. Part 2's beginning is my favorite part with its glorious 3 minute classical piano solo, just marvelous stuff with that Italian flair, some slow notes and other moments lightning fast on those ivories. The next section features great majestic tones with vocal harmonies, fluid bass and electric leads popping up in the back. The meat of the track, like side 1, shows good composition and a knack for interesting keyboard parts. The track builds to another energetic ending with all players kicking it into high gear..driving bass, soaring leads.then it suddenly stops for a surprise bit of violin.before our Penguin walks off into the sunset.

All is not perfect in Murple land however. Despite some good music the sound quality of the Mellow MMP-121 pressing I have leaves plenty to be desired. It lacks adequate punch on the low end and really needs a remastering job. I do not know if the Akarma version is better but I hope so. Another problem is that this CD appears to be taken from a Vinyl source as you can hear the snap/crackle/pop in a few places. It is not horrible sound by any means, just far from optimum. If you love classic Italian and are interested in this title I would not let the sound issue stop you unless you are only able to enjoy pristine quality. They do include a lyric sheet in Italian, no English translation. This title is certainly a must for classic Italian junkies and a decent consideration for others who might enjoy its energetic mix.

Finnforest | 3/5 |


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