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Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM) - Jet Lag CD (album) cover

JET LAG

Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.18 | 204 ratings

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LinusW
Special Collaborator
Italian Prog Specialist
3 stars A mixed bag indeed.

I am the first to admit that this isn't the same PFM that created such celebrated masterpieces as Per Un Amico and Storia Di Un Minuto, but the lingering feeling of confidence and competence those albums left me with is still very much present.

Some symphonic remnants remain, often taking the shape of organ/Moog passages with or without violin. But even then it's more in the vein 'of Americana prog' like Kansas. Warmer, and in some ways more laid-back and relaxed. And there's room enough for the occasional dab in the more baroque territory of the classic records, adding a faint flavour of the bands' trademark RPI sound. Above all the above though, this is in fact a jazzy, guitar- and bass driven piece of art. Complex classical and rhythmic arrangements for the guitar and full of great bass from Patrick Djivas. It's a unique sound, rounded but still twangy, that he produces, be it with his fingers or a pick. Often very fast and complex, with shorter solo runs reminding me of Geddy Lee and sometimes just fattening up the sound by solid, powerful booming lines. By stretching it a little, I find some traces of Tony Levin in the sound. Very fast, almost taplike (think Chapman Stick) with weird but enjoyable slide/bend effects. Even the interplay between all the instruments on some songs makes me think of 80's King Crimson. It's fresh and daring in a New Age kind of way, something I find very enjoyable when used in moderation.

On top of this is a very integrated violin, often rising from the mix to add either melody or texture. Just like the keys do. Altogether they form an adventurous, feisty whole which is both frantic and relaxed at the same time and, at least for me, very refreshing. A compact and lively soundscape keeps you interested all the time, but yes, for shorter periods it might turn almost nauseant, when the denseness instead overwhelms you. Mixing many influences at once, almost as with a fusion band, Jet Lag defies description. Both a pro and a con, say I. There's a searching element here, counterbalanced with complexity and experimentalism, but it still only gets the job half done.

I'm not a big fan of Bernardo Lanzetti. With that said, he doesn't bog down the album that much. It's quite a nuisance every time he delivers some terribly overdone vibrato, that he still can't pull off, and he is a singer of sub-par quality. But as so often is the case, the music overshadows that incapability.

Don't make this your first PFM experience, but most certainly don't make it your last.

3 stars

//LinusW

LinusW | 3/5 |

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