Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM) - Emotional Tattoos CD (album) cover

EMOTIONAL TATTOOS

Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

2.82 | 66 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
3 stars Legendary Italian proggers Premiata Forneria Marconi (P.F.M) need little introduction, the symphonic band delivering three of the defining RPI LP's back in the early Seventies, and then achieving a commercial momentum once they began offering albums exclusively performed in English in the middle of that decade. Decades of line-up shuffles and musical style changes have been part of the band's history ever since, but this latest version is now led by founding member/drummer Franz Di Cioccio, who also takes on the lead vocals due to the departure of guitarist and fellow founder Franco Mussida a couple of years back, with the rest of the band being comprised of a mix of long-time serving PFM members and newer musicians.

2017's `Emotional Tattoos', the first album for PFM since signing to worldwide prog distribution specialists InsideOut Music, is an equally reliable and inconsistent listen, despite having plenty that can be praised about it. The musicianship, especially Marco Sfogli's guitars, Patrick Djivas' nicely fat upfront bass and Di Cioccio's busy driving drumming are never short of superb, and the latter's voice is confident. However, despite a few exceptions, the prog-rock sophistication of old has been replaced by a collection of melodic yet dignified mid-tempo AOR vocal rockers with little traces of proggy soloing mostly only worked into little thirty-odd second bursts here and there. That's not to say that this is a bad album in any way, just that it's really not what the majority of their fans would have been looking forward to from a new PFM work (although offering both an English version and Italian version is appreciated!), and it's especially disappointing when you consider that their last few studio works, `Stati di Immaginzione' from 2006 and 2010's `AD 2010: La Buona Novella', were superb and full of progressive rock majesty.

Looking at some of what's on offer (and the Italian version should be the preferred edition, which is the one discussed here), opener `Il Regno' evolves out of its weary dreaminess into tough whirring keyboards, heaving guitars and Franz's raspy croon. Lovely murmuring bass from Patrick, Lucio Fabbri's elegant violin licking at the edges and Alessandro Scaglione's zippy keyboarding soloing throughout `Oniro' are the first hint of the classic PFM sound, and sleek darker rocker ` La lezione' pulses with a tougher danger with its strident drums and frequently reprising twisting guitar runs.

`Mayday' is a fairly dull moody rocker lifted by fleeting tense themes, but `La danza degli specchi' is a big improvement. While some of the groovier funky spots try a little desperately to be cool, it sure jumps around in endless different directions and tempo changes in only six minutes, and there's traces of those chiming guitars, vocal flamboyance and racing darting synth runs of the PFM of old scattered throughout! `Il cielo che c'' is a classy ballad that's easy to enjoy, and `Quartiere generale' is a catchy pop-rocker lifted by fancy reprising violin themes.

The greatest moment of the disc arrives with `Freedom Square', a folk-flecked instrumental loaded with all the spirited acoustic guitars, twirling violin jigs and keyboard driven fanfare pomp that fans forever associate with the classic PFM sound - what a shame that it's one of the shortest pieces on the album at only four and a half minutes! The busy `Dalla Terra alla Luna' grafts an easily melodic tune to heavy crashing bluster with plenty of humming Hammond organ, keyboard wig-outs and rambunctious drumming, `Le Cose Belle' is a sweet romantic ballad with tasteful playing, and closer `Big Bang' is simply another reliably enjoyable tune elevated by sparkling piano, crisp guitar and fluid bass runs (the final minute is truly sublime, and another example of `what could have been' if the album had been made up of more winning moments like this).

It's not surprising to see PFM playing in a mostly fairly straightforward rock manner here, like so many older acts do. But it's a shame when other renowned vintage Italian bands such as Metamorfosi, Cherry Five and Maxophone have all delivered extravagant and ambitious recent works of great vitality, and in comparison there's very little to associate `Emotional Tattoos' with the symphonic rockers of legend that are PFM. Sadly, the album is also overlong at 62 minutes (does InsideOut Music put demands on all the artists that sign for them that the music must have enough material to cover a double vinyl release?) when a nice 45 or so minute single-LP length, with a couple of more overtly `proggy' or symphonic pieces would have made this a much more approachable affair to be replayed more often. Still, it's nice that the band are still active, but perhaps PFM should look to their own past next time for future inspiration on where to take the band in this modern era.

Three stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 3/5 |

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI (PFM) review

Social review comments () BETA







Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — jazz music reviews and archives | MetalMusicArchives.com — metal music reviews and archives