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Phoenix Again - Friends of Spirit CD (album) cover

FRIENDS OF SPIRIT

Phoenix Again

 

Neo-Prog

2.67 | 17 ratings

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TCat
2 stars Phoenix Again is the name of a Neo-Prog band founded originally in Italy in 1981 with the name "Phoenix". The band is mostly unheard of, but they disbanded in 1988 and reformed with their new name in 2010. The band was put together by 3 brothers, Claudio, Antonio and Sergio Lorandi, who recruited Silvano Silva to play drums. They recorded some material, but never released it until after they reformed, and finally released the debut album in 2011. However, the thing that really inspired them to reform was the death of Claudio in 2007.

The band released their fourth full length studio LP in March of 2019, entitled "Friends of Spirit". The band now consists of 6 musicians, 4 of which are still part of the Lorandi family; Sergio on guitars and bouzouki, Antonio on bass, Marco on guitars, Giorgio on vocals and percussion. They are joined by Silvano Silva on drums and percussion, and Andrea Piccinelli on keyboards. The album consists of 9 tracks and has a run-time of 41 minutes. The album is available on Bandcamp, but physical copies are only available for shipping through Europe. The music is mostly instrumental and is influenced by acoustic instruments playing a mostly laid-back, Latin-style jazz.

"Friends of Spirit" (7:08) is the longest track and it starts off the album with a slowly developing, atmospheric sound, and then a smooth and soft guitar finally brings in a melody while effects softly flutter around. The instrumental is soft and spacious, with a smooth and breezy jazz feel. "On the Melody" (3:50) has a Spanish folk style to it with the fast acoustic strumming. The melody is played by the bouzouki. "Pasion" (4:52) begins with a mysterious and dark feel, with wordless vocals and more of the Spanish-influenced sound, but this time with a more pensive and moderately slow tempo.

At this point, it has been established that this is really far from progressive music, but more of a smooth Latin-jazz sound (hence the reason for mostly Spanish titles) similar to the new age band "Acoustic Alchemy". The songs are written in simple, standard meters and is very accessible. The music continues in this vein, with the acoustic guitar taking the lead through most of it, but with an occasional appearance of other instruments, like the improvising piano in "Habanera". "Free Ireland" mixes the Spanish guitar sound with an Irish lilt, and of course the bouzouki is used here. "Eppur Si Muore" begins as a fast moving dance style, and then halfway through, changes to a slower smoother track, almost like it was actually two separate songs in one track.

So, this is pretty much an easy listening album, quite laid back and influenced mostly by Spanish music and latin jazz. There is nothing progressive about it at all. Reading other reviews for the band, apparently this was not always the case, that their past albums had more progressive style to it, but that is totally missing on this album. If you like acoustic jazz music influenced by Spanish jazz, then this is for you, but pick it up for that reason, and not because you are hoping to find anything progressive on it.

TCat | 2/5 |

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