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

JET LAG

Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.17 | 325 ratings

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ExittheLemming
Prog Reviewer
3 stars A recent study in hamsters showed that Viagra aided in a 50% faster recovery from jet-lag comparable to that experienced by humans and was effective starting at low doses. However, this use has not been tested in humans and is considered an off-label use by the drug's manufacturers.

How do you measure fatigue, lethargy, digestive upsets, impaired judgement, memory lapses and irritability in a rodent? (Asleep at the wheel?)

I would imagine that the jazz/fusion tangent that the band went off on here would have polarised their fans at the time. However, it seems self-evident that those listeners who anticipated more symphonic prog and were served with this, would have a negative view of the album. This is a shame as Jet lag has much to offer from a purely musical perspective irrespective of the genre.

As the band were domiciled in the USA at the time, this exposure to a very different world would have had a commensurate influence on their music. (Both good and bad) When I first heard this album I was initially very disappointed and left it abandoned in the rack for a long while afterwards. However, for some unknown reason I decided to persevere with it and after a LOT of listens, something just started to click for me.

Yes, it is rather noodley and rambling in places but the compositions do eventually worm their way under your skin, so stick with it. You will not get any of the more familiar bombastic delights that adorn PFM's earlier output, but instead are invited to enter a jazzier and more improvisatory realm where often the texture is just as important as the structure.

The dialogue between the bass and drums is to be marveled at and the remaining instruments weave their way exploratively in and out of the mix over the top. The production throughout is excellent and really serves to enhance the very detailed and intricate interplay between the brilliant instrumentalists. (You already knew they had killer chops anyway)

There is alas, one area of the recording that is beyond redemption and that is Bernardo Lanzetti and his wildly oscillating tonsils. Within the broader rock stylings of Chocolate Kings his rich vibrato was acceptable, although still slightly irritating after lengthy exposure. In the context of the new fusion style here, it just sounds faintly incongruous, like an Italian attempting to sing the blues. Mercifully, the tracks are mostly instrumental and Bernie's warblings are kept to a minimum.

If nothing else, the record shows both the creative wanderlust and bravery of a band prepared to release material that they must have known would alienate many of their fans. (and that's why they get the extra half star folks)

SUMMARY: If you want eggs, ask for eggs and if they don't serve them: don't complain that the chicken don't taste like eggs.

(Three and a half stars really, and leave those little hamsters alone)

ExittheLemming | 3/5 |

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