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Sensations' Fix - Boxes Paradise  CD (album) cover

BOXES PARADISE

Sensations' Fix

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.15 | 15 ratings

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Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer
3 stars The fourth album (and first of two in 1977) by this underrated Italian band completed a transition from the spacier music of their earlier LPs toward a more accessible, song- based format. But don't expect anything approaching mainstream Mediterranean Prog Rock: guitarist Franco Falsini continued marching to the rhythm of his own private muse, influenced (in philosophy more than actual practice) by Robert Fripp, and the books of Kurt Vonnegut.

This time around there isn't a single cut on the album without lyrics, all sung (as always, in somewhat fractured English) by Falsini himself, whose voice is suggestive, at least in its upper octaves, of an earthier Jon Anderson, sounding not unpleasantly like the Yes vocalist with a slight chest cold. The words themselves are nothing special, and invariably take a back seat to the music, with plenty of room allowed between verses for long instrumental breaks in unpredictable time signatures, highlighting the dynamic interplay between Falsini's interstellar guitar work and synthesizers.

All of which had never sounded so good, at least when compared to the group's earlier, more amateur productions. Maybe there was a learning curve to be conquered in the sound studio; it might explain their curious habit of revisiting and revising older material on subsequent albums, with or without drums, or vocals, and often retitled in each new incarnation. And here it is again: the two instrumentals Just A Bit More On The Curve and Yardbird's Dream, both off the 1976 LP FINEST FINGER, are combined here to become the song Visions Fugitives, not to be confused with their later album of the same name, which did not (as far as I can recall) feature the same track under that or any other title, Any questions so far?

This is a strong album even by contemporary benchmarks, striking a fine balance between nuance and aggression, and completely lacking the time-capsule quality that makes listening to most progressive rock from the 1970s an exercise in rose-colored nostalgia. Even the cover art, both front and back showing the same airbrushed profile of an ice-cold platinum blonde, is well outside traditional prog standards of the time, sporting an almost post-punk severity and simplicity.

Maybe it's a good thing the band wasn't around long enough to wear out their welcome.

Postcript: I have to take issue with the rating definition applicable here. In all fairness I can't award the album more than three stars, but to call a slice of vintage vinyl more than a quarter century old (and yet to be re-issued on CD) "non-essential" is a slap in the face to our collective memory. Regardless of how they compare to the acknowledged classics of the genre, records like this are an invaluable reminder of an unfairly neglected chapter in modern music history, and if only because of their relative scarcity are to be treasured.

Neu!mann | 3/5 |

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