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Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM) - Passpartů CD (album) cover


Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)


Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.07 | 165 ratings

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Italian Prog Specialist
3 stars Continuing down the slope of less and less symphonic albums in PFM's discography, Passpartů proves to be another nice surprise from the successful band. The only Bernardo Lanzetti album that has proved disappointing is surprisingly Chocolate Kings, which most reviewers consider the best with him on-board. For me, THIS is Lanzetti-era PFM at their best.

It's an immediate album in a number of ways; a shift towards a poppier, appealing sound with a lot of feeling and vibrancy. No song is longer than five minutes, but they are all small gems of the lighter, care-free side of Italian rock/prog. I've found it very uplifting and inspiring, ranging mostly from mid- to up-tempo, and something I immediately put on while in a good mood. I guess it's best described as a soundtrack for festivities, carnivals, on hot, sun-drenched summer days. This is an album built around guitar, and lots of it. You know how it sounds. Southern Europe stuff. Culturally traditional sounds as I perceive it, Mediterranean joie-de-vivre spiced up with borrowed trademarks from a couple of other genres along the way. There are still remnants of the jazz/fusion side of the band, vividly expressed on Chocolate Kings and especially Jet Lag. Some of the complexity do actually remain, but in a very different form this time. Small quirks, inspired acoustic and classical guitar (sometimes actually quite folky, which is a nice addition to the sound, and something we haven't heard from the band in quite some time) and Patric Djivas bass are all evidences that the band still hasn't lost the passion of making quality music. A nice surprise is new-found fire on the percussive side, with congas, timbales and marimba thrown in with moderation. They give many of the songs a slight Latin-American vibe together with aforementioned guitars, and add even more laid-back fun to that which is already there.

Traces of symphonic glory days are still found here and there on Passpartů, be it a fleeting Moog run, and underlying piano, a melody on top of the heavy guitar textures or a mood-setting synthesiser permeating the entire song. But it's never really structurally important, only used for effect and support. Small delicacies carefully distributed for intricacy and variation, but still very good. However, don't buy Passpartů expecting classically inspired grandeur like on the three big albums. The times they are a-changing.

I've never been enjoying the clumsy vibrato-drenched singing of Bernardo Lanzetti very much, so I'm extremely pleased to see him singing to music that actually fits his voice for once. It's as if it's first on Passpartů Lanzetti feels safe enough to sing at his own capacity, and not try to over-reach all the time. Makes it all the more pleasing.

To sum up this drivel: Passpartů is definitely not a representative PFM record, neither is there much here to please fans of their classic albums. It is however a great chance to explore the development of PFM's sound into this slightly genre-blending (fusion is a too strong word to use here) light-prog. This is music that doesn't promise much, but gives a lot more due to its inherent feel-good factor and charm.

A recommendation with a warning sign. 3 stars.


LinusW | 3/5 |


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