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Area - Crac ! CD (album) cover

CRAC !

Area

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.23 | 244 ratings

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jimmy_row
4 stars "Crac!" is Area's third album, released in 1974 and one of the strongest in their revolutionary canon of political artfulness. The previous album had received some mixed opinions after the explosive debut; Crac! is a departure in style from both of those two records-in a way, more compact and sleek if that is possible to think of with Area. In that aspect, this is the most "accessible" version of the band, and not surprisingly, they had gained their largest following with insightful lyrics set to a whirlwind of musical directions. Through 1974 and '75, Area were dedicated to a consistent live schedule (one that would produce the strong live album Are(A)zione ), which helped them become one of the most influential groups in the land, touching musicians, listeners (especially younger ones), and activists alike.

By now, the two musical "leaders" of the band were at the top of their game: Demetrio Stratos' powerful voice fully ingrained as another instrument as well as the messenger. He didn't even have to use actual words to be at the forefront ("Megalopoli"). Meanwhile, Patrizo Fariselli dialed in the tricky jazz and experimental parts: complex, but as I said, compact and often frantic. The twists and turns from Patrizio's relentless bag of tricks is nothing short of amazing. The newest member, Tovalazzi (bass) who joined after the debut, does a stunning job using electric, acoustic, and double bass. His background seems better suited for those frequent capricious excursions than the man he replaced, Patrik Dijvas (also an excellent musician, and a member of PFM at this point). The lyrics make use of metaphor and analogy to avoid sounding overtly political and aim largely at the day's youth. "Gioia e rivoluzione" is the most up-front; musically optimistic, but lyrically an earnest call to arms. A "battle" of love and passion.they compare their instruments to lethal weapons (ah, that old "change the world" ideal in music; reality seems to have squelched that out these days).

Much like Arbeit Macht Frei , Crac! jumps out of the gate with the two strongest tracks to my ears. "L'elefante bianco" is very intense and a favorite of mine, the addictive Arabian flavored instrumental sections scorch like the Egyptian sun and the interplay and vocals are out of this world. Quite far from some of the more jazz oriented pieces that often appear, such as the following track "La Mela di Odessa", which is similar to the title track from the debut, with another excellent soulful bass-line during the second half after a frenzied romp through free jazz territory. The first two tracks show what Area do best, while the rest of the album expands and explores, often taking very different routes, and serving testament to the eclecticism of their palette. They take Mediterranean folk bits and play them with guitar and synthesizer; they settle down and play upbeat rock, do a little RIO, space out a bit in places, and of course stretch out when they need to. This is perhaps what people often miss in labeling Area simply as "jazz-rock"; their style is really a fusion (that's a better term) of anything they felt like doing, sometimes taking them very far from rock and jazz. I've noticed a love/hate result from this; people often say that they don't normally like fusion, but that they do like Area.or vise versa. To me, this is because Area are beyond categorization, and they belong to a handful of bands that break every rule or possibility of such.

PA Rating: 4.49999/5

The Jimmy Row Factor: 8.75/10, A

jimmy_row | 4/5 |

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