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Cherry Five - Cherry Five CD (album) cover

CHERRY FIVE

Cherry Five

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.88 | 124 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Cherry Five was a short-lived band that released a sole album: so far, nothing really special since this was the usual fate for most progressive bands in Italy (releasing 2 albums, at most). The extraordinary thing about Cherry Five is the set of circumstances that led to its inception ? it came out of the ashes of a previous act called Oliver, with keyboardist Claudio Simonetti and guitarist Massimo Morante joining forces with the other two musicians. But, before the Goblin era, all four went to England to audition vocalists, but eventually, the role was filled by yet another Italian person who had had his own progressive past as a member of L'Uovo di Colombo. So, the album "Cherry Five" was recorded in 1974, but post-production stopped while the band was negotiating the recording contract, so the album wasn't released until 1976, when a slightly altered line-up of the instrumentalists was already paving a firm career as Goblin. The released album was labeled under an invented name and with scarce information that omitted any mention of Goblin musicians. So, what about the music itself? Let me tell you that this band is one of the least Italian-sounding bands from this progressively prolific country ? their nuclear sound is more oriented to early Yes and, perhaps, Flash, translating their dynamics into the sort of stylish extroversion that was so common among the greater bands from the proto-prog era (Beggar's Opera, The Nice to a certain degree). At times, the instrumental excursions may also remind us of the aforementioned L'Uovo di Colombo, although it is true that the Cherry Five guys deliver a higher degree of energy and a more polished compositional creativity. The opener 'County grave-yard' bears a catchy drive, with a punchy rhythm scheme and guitar arpeggios complemented by electric piano syncopations. The organ and piano solos that emerge later on help to preserve the recurrent power, as do the effective bass guitar flourishes (very Squire-esque, indeed). . 'The Picture of Dorian Gray' starts on a very bucolic mode, with magical acoustic guitar phrases and mellotron layers, until the main body settles in and installs a specific sense of typical Yes-like flamboyance. The album's first half ends with Part 1 of 'The Swan Is a Murderer', which keeps on bringing business as usual ? stylish composition, tasteful arrangements, enthusiastic dynamics in the performances. This part ends with a musical box, ghostly whispers and a wild wind, fading out until it is taken back for Part 2. in this second part, the main musical ideas are taken to an enhanced sophistication, in this way completing the bombastic ambience that had been so explicit until now. All in all, the album's absolute gen has to be 'Oliver', 91/2 minutes of pure progressive joy. Influences from (the ever-present) Yes, ELP and Gracious! are easy to notice in the rockier moments, albeit not being overwhelming either. On the other hand, the more relaxed passages bring some of that Mediterranean sensibility that overall has forged that special essence of Italian symphonic progressive rock. A gem, indeed. 'My Little Cloud Land' wraps things up with a slightly lesser degree of intensity than on the preceding songs, but the bass interventions and synth solos are featured items through the track's development and variations. The piano coda and the gunshot sound emphasize the song's dramatic intentionality. So, this is "Cherry Five" as a whole, an efficient, effective piece of symphonic prog that deserves proper recognition from prog collectors everywhere: it may not be totally excellent, but it is much more than just good.
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |

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