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Lagartija - Ricordi? CD (album) cover




Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.77 | 19 ratings

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Rock Progressivo Italiano!
4 stars 4.5 stars for this modern RPI gem

Lagartija is one of the examples of outstanding modern RPI, a band that can take the spirit of the 1970s and blend it with modern expression and sensibilities to create superb music. Like the great Italian masters, they beautifully and honestly combine various influences (modern alternative, jazz, even some post-rock), all the while pouring in their soul--2009's "Ricordi?" is no detached, virtuosic display, but rather a heartfelt collection of beautifully assembled creations.

The overall feel for me is nostalgia, sometimes melancholic, other times joyous and exhilarating. I get the sense of walking through my grandparents' house for the first time in several years, seeing things very differently from my memory. The music is for the most part fairly laid back, content to let the listener get lost in the hooks, grooves, and riffs, not worrying about a pressured pace. There is abundant piano, both acoustic and electric, as well as other keyboards, provided by Fabrizio Delledonne. The fabulous saxophone, along with piano one of the two mainstays of RPI, is played by Cristian Piga. The tight, subtle rhythm section of Fabrizio Maffei on bass and Michele Molinari on drums is ever-present, never overstated. The guitar textures of Andrea Poggi are intricately woven. Finally, the warm, inviting voice of Sara Aliani is for me the jewel in this crown--it's a voice that rings familiar and does not put listeners off, really beautiful. The vocal lines are often complementary to the sometime dissonance, other times running counter to it and providing needed relief. Like the other instruments, Sara's voice is very comfortable with itself. Though the music is sometimes a bit unsettling, her voice very rarely is, providing shelter from the swirling sounds around it.

Every time I listen to the album, whenever a song begins, I think, yes, this one's my favorite. I just can't pick one. Each of the songs are like different facts of the same gem, each coming at the listener using familiar, similar perspectives, but each with its own angle. The longest is "Lacrime Inconcluse," logging in at over 11 minutes, and it contains some of the most ecstatic moments on the album (like the segment around the three minute mark, with Piga's sax taking over for Sara's voice, as the other instruments churn out some of the most emphatic music of the album). Compositionally there are some surprises, but the real strength of this album is in its ability to pull you in, almost seductively.

I hope the band has yet more to give and doesn't become one of the too-frequent one-offs in RPI, but even if they do they will have left a remarkable document. The album is available directly from the band, through Camelot Club, and Greg Walker/Synphonic stocks it as well. Seek it out. 4.5 stars.

Todd | 4/5 |


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