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MO.DO. - La Scimmia Sulla Schiena Del Re CD (album) cover

LA SCIMMIA SULLA SCHIENA DEL RE

MO.DO.

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.47 | 26 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Finnforest
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Carrying the torch through the dark years

MO.DO. is a band from Bergamo formed in 1978 and featuring the drummer from Dalton. At a time when the Italian prog scene was in some decline, as was prog in general, these guys managed to release a decent album in 1980. Quirky is a word I've seen used to describe them and the shoe fits. Scented Gardens calls them "symphonic rock almost like a direct cross between Gentle Giant and PFM." They do start with something of a pastoral Italian symphonic base twisted with various eclectic stripes.

Bands that come to mind for comparison would include Errata Corrige for the pastoral vibe and crisp playing, perhaps a bit of Citta Frontale snap there as well. Even a bit of folksy charm in the flute and acoustic guitars of the opening. Another similar project would be Pierpaolo Bibbo's fine "Diapason" (a bit better album than this) which also takes the pastoral symphonic base into somewhat uncharted waters as far as the finished sound goes. There is a modernity and freshness to both albums that few from this period match. An economy in the approach while still trying to court the elements of progressive rock that they enjoyed. The Gentle Giant influence people mention is obvious although not very constant and MoDo do not possess the depth of the best Giant compositions. The PFM comparisons are also a bit misleading in that MoDo fall well short of that quality level. Nevertheless the album is a good one. They run the gamut from uptempo instrumentals (Grindel) to smooth, laid-back pieces with nice male/female vocals floating on a sea of string-synth (Tramonto, Gulliver). They will even turn on the "heavy" with organ and electric guitar (Oltre la terza porta) and though the results are pretty tame, the up-front bass and drumming are really tight and synch into this punchy rhythm---nice stuff. The contrast between the pastoral and the quirky uptempo jams are not so sensibly handled and give the album a bit of a disjointed feeling in overall effect---variety is great but transitions can be handled better than they are here. The closing title track is the longest at 6 minutes showing how some of the prog excess has been wrung out of this cloth. It's a good number that brings the most potential to the table despite those darn bouncy Gentle Giant rhythms that can get tiring. An interesting Mellow rarity but well short of a great album to me. 2 1/2 stars.

Finnforest | 2/5 |

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