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Moogg - Italian Luxury Style CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.04 | 74 ratings

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Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
5 stars Formed back in 2003, Italian band Moogg released their great little debut album `Le Ore I Giorni Gli Anni' in 2011, and a charmingly melodic take on the Canterbury Scene sound it turned out to be. It was a sprightly and polished effort that won the band a small fanbase, but in retrospect it seems like a mere rehearsal for what they have delivered on their follow-up `Italian Luxury Style' five years later in 2016! The politeness and carefully composed pieces have been replaced by a fiery and spontaneous liveliness, with more emphasis placed on red-hot Seventies-styled full-blown jazz-fusion, and even a touch of Zeuhl here and there! The seven extended pieces on offer are performed with an attacking heaviness that brings the group a little closer to an Italian fusion band like D.F.A, but there's still little traces of the infectious playfulness of the debut found throughout too.

The album is bookended by two lengthy self-titled parts, a mix of busy constantly reprising jazz-fusion themes and deft jamming. Opener `Ieri / Italian Luxury I' buoyantly bristles by way of Toni Gafforini 's sparkling electric piano and whirling keyboard runs, Marco Dolfini's exotic and nimble percussion and Ivan Vanoglio's electric guitar gliding between bouncing funky licks and strangled wails. A vocal break in the middle is wistful and smooth, Marco's charismatic croon purring as the piece tears towards a racing tantrum of rattling drum attacks, Roberto Matiz's stuttering bass spasms, a frazzled guitar wig- out and spiralling piano implosion in the finale.

With its frequent drawn out raging electric guitar runs, the high-energy `Nani, Veline E Cortigiane' wouldn't have sounded out of place on D.F.A's `4th' disc or one of the more guitar-dominated Canterbury bands like Gilgamesh, but it also seamlessly works in a cool Caravan-esque electric piano-tiptoed saunter in the middle and a cheerful vocal scat to close on. `Turista Per Sempre' is a dreamy and mellow summer finger-snapping stroll with a spring in its hopping step, but there's teasing little fiery bursts here and there to keep you on your toes.

The mid-way point and `L'estinzione Del Congiuntivo' plies a permeating Zeuhl atmosphere and sense of danger to the Canterbury sound jazziness, with murky grumbling bass and glistening electric piano tendrils behind dirtier snarling guitars, and Marco even adopts a ravishing Christian Vander-esque murmur to his voice. His busy and sparkling drumming dominates the slinking `Le Voyage (pour Christian Vander)', dedicated to the Magma visionary, and around some catchy repeating themes it slides into a darker groove of gnarling guitars and slithering bass/drum duelling, and plentiful delirious zippy keyboard freakouts are not too far removed from modern band the Tangent, themselves a frequently Canterbury- inspired group.

Instrumental `Due Come Noi' is a sublime late-night sobering come-down, full of a longing romantic tenderness to its gentle acoustic guitars but it also manages to avoid being overly pretty or too delicate, and the impromptu electric piano throughout recalls Steve Miller's contributions to Caravan's hugely underrated `Waterloo Lily' album. It just might be the album highlight, and that's on a disc crammed beginning to end with amazing music!

`Italian Luxury II (include Ritorno A Ieri)' then returns to the opener and delivers a final run of powered up and driving jamming packed to the gills with peppy rapid-fire whizzing keyboards, plenty of foot-tapping grooves, slithering Zeuhl-flecked bass ruminations, big percussion-fuelled breaks and a searing guitar climax to end on high.

Moogg's debut might have already been a winner, but `Italian Luxury Style' is exactly how a band not only improves on a strong first product, but completely steps up in status as a band and delivers a vastly superior follow-up crackling with inspiration and future potential. Up there with eclectic and colourful genre-melting works like the Mad Fellaz recent second album, `Italian Luxury Style' is an essential jazz-fusion/Canterbury-related release (and one that Zeuhl followers should also investigate!), and one of the finest releases, Italian or otherwise, that emerged in 2016.

Five stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 5/5 |


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