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Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM) - Chocolate Kings CD (album) cover


Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)


Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.95 | 433 ratings

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3 stars I guess that Premiata Forneria Marconi got a bit tired of releasing both an Italian and an English version of their album's so they went for a completely Engligh-sung performance on Chocolate Kings!

Since the band knew their limitations in the vocal department they made a wise decision of recruiting a professional vocalist by the name Bernardo Lanzetti who possessed a much better English pronunciation and gave the music a completely new spin. I'd also like to mention that he tends to sound a lot like an Italian Cat Stevens on this album which is a definite compliment on my part!

From Under is the energetic opener and probably this album's biggest highlight where the music plays like an interesting mix between the Jazz Rock/Fusion and the familiar sounding sections from the band's early albums. The production and Bernardo Lanzetti's English-sung vocals make it almost sound like a completely different band and had it not been for those softer section I wouldn't even know that this actually was the good old Premiata Forneria Marconi!

Harlequin is another great ballad-styled composition which gains a lot of momentum halfway through the composition and turns into a crazy instrumental jam which really pleased me immensely. This was the kind of music I was expecting to hear more of after the band's performance on Via Lumiere from their previous album.

I can't really say that I'm a big fan of the album's title-track which reminds me of an extreme version of Celebration/E' Festa from the band's debut album. It does feature quite a few great instrumental passages but ultimately plays a bit like one of those instrumental compositions from the classical Genesis era which were then enhanced by a slightly out of place sounding vocal track from Peter Gabriel (Get 'Em Out By Friday and The Battle Of Epping Forest, to name a few).

Out On The Roundabout is the tune that has grown the most on me lately especially after I had my Gentle Giant-phase were every new well-executed acoustic guitar number received a whole lot more appreciation from me then it would have before. This is another performance that would have probably worked a whole lot better as a completely instrumental number since the vocals don't enhance the music all that much and the instrumental section has instead the difficult task of maintaining a high quality performance while still making the vocal sections sound coherent.

Paper Charms is where my analogy about Bernardo Lanzetti sounding like an Italian Cat Stevens really comes well into place. This performance plays like another roller-coaster ride with a lot of tempo changes and a very strong concluding section which serves as a great end to the album.

I can't say that I love Chocolate Kings as much as I probably should since there isn't anything particularly wrong with the performance. What I do lack are the strong highlights which can probably be explained by all the changes that the band had undergone with this release. It's a solid but non-essential album that I would rather recommend to those who have already established a taste for Premiata Forneria Marconi.

**** star songs: From Under (7:31) Harlequin (7:50) Out On The Roundabout (7:56) Paper Charms (8:33)

*** star songs: Chocolate Kings (4:41)

Rune2000 | 3/5 |


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