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Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM) - Chocolate Kings CD (album) cover


Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)


Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.95 | 434 ratings

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Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Chocolate Kings - but, sadly, no longer Prog Kings...

As usual, PFM deliver superb instrumentation and dodgy vocals with creative and imaginative music and slightly damp production.

Somewhat surprisingly, though, this album does wander into slightly lost territories after the first three tracks - which are up to PFM's usual high standards. Hence I would not say that this is an essential album, but it is nonetheless one that contains some great music and would appeal to most prog fans (remember that the rating system here is not marks out of 5, but an objective meaure of the albums relative quality).

From Under carries the usual flavours of Focus, KC and ELP, with that symphonic extra that PFM always bring, but is in the mellow vein with suggestions of Procul Harum while somehow reminding me in places of David Bowie's "Starman". It's a very slick mix, and the bass/drums section towards the end is quite blistering, if a little repetitive.

Harlequin comprises two sections; The first another repetitive but uptempo, slick and rich-sounding jam around a bass/drum riff, and the second a short, gentle pastorale section. The first is unremarkable but very tight, the second is very beautiful.

The title track brings in an odd pop/rock flavour, hinting at all kinds of things, including a Scottish Jig, ABBA and the Beach Boys (more than once I thought they might break into a quote from "Waterloo" or "Good Vibrations"!), but ultimately PFM can't resist their prog roots, and the end result is quite fascinating.

Out On The Roundabout and Paper Charms lose direction quite significantly, and drag this album down a notch from previous PFM outings. There are one or two moments where it does all come together, but the bass tends to be altogether too busy - blustering rather than blistering, and the surrounding parts bland and unfocussed, even though you can hear all band members giving it their all.

In summary: worth buying, if you can find a cheap copy - but mainly for side 1. If you're new to PFM, check out their earlier albums.

Certif1ed | 3/5 |


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