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If / Ifsounds - Apeirophobia CD (album) cover


If / Ifsounds


Crossover Prog

3.56 | 23 ratings

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3 stars Apeirophobia (the fear of the infinite after death)

IfSounds is an Italian band who began back in the 90s as a part covers/part originals outfit. The three core members, Franco Bussoli on bass guitar, Claudio Lapenna on piano/keyboards and Dario Lastella on guitars have been together ever since. In 2009 two new members came on board, vocalist Elena Ricci and drummer Enzo Bellocchio. This year (2010) the band signed to Melodic Revolution Records and in the fall released their new album "Apeirophobia" which apparently refers to a fear of the infinite state following death. The album is a conceptual work on the topic of what may occur in the states after death, if I understand correctly, and about larger life issues in a philosophical sense. Andrea Pinti's imaginative cover art gives us a nice visual beginning to the journey that follows.

I've not heard their earlier albums but this one is certainly ambitious, and includes a 28-minute suite for a title track. Dario Lastella and Claudio Lapenna are listed as the main composers/arrangers and the influences are older English rock and prog bands, the most usual suspects. These influences can be heard throughout the album but in updated fashion with elements of Crossover, modern Symphonic, and perhaps Neo-prog. They also remind me of other elegant Italian projects with female English-language vocals and symphonic influences, such as Alma Sideris, Mindflower, and Greenwall. The band should appeal most to retro-prog fans and not as much to those who look for the fiercely bold and abrasive stuff. Opener "Anima Mundi" brings to my mind later-career Floyd in an energetic mode like "One Slip," and other moments also make me think the Gilmour-led Floyd is an inspiration to them. "Summer Breeze" begins with a nice piano melody suddenly stopped by sound effects, the announcements at an airport. Lovely acoustic guitar and piano lead through the vocal verses (this song can be sampled in video here on their PA artist page.)

"Last Minutes" gets a bit funky off of a good bass line, with trippy processed vocals alternating with Ricci's singing. "Aprile" is a fantastic little interlude which sounds like traditional RPI with the rich piano and strings (courtesy of guests Núria Palau, Alexandra Milas, Maria Miele and Armando Varriano) gushing a sentimental melody of the heart. This is a nice respite before we launch into the finale of the 28-minute nine-part title track. This is wonderfully ear-pleasing melodic prog, unapologetically throwing everything they have at the listener. I've no intention of a 28-minute play-by-play (John can do that for us, heh heh) but we get a wide taste of ear candy: female vocals with harmonies, cool synth sounds and formal piano, acoustic folk guitar, jamming lead guitar, and a very solid rhythm section. The intro Part I is fantastic, very spacey and slowly building. Part V "Jungle Feelings" is cool with what I'm guessing is a sound presentation of some plane in the afterlife or expansive life experience, with tribal percussion and weird, wild vocal noises. Part VIII's "Home Again" is another favorite for me, I fall for the sweet piano every time. The suite closes with the majestic "I will never be alone," very upbeat emotionally and featuring a soaring guitar solo.

The CD is available through CDBaby or you can sample it via free streaming from the band's website, so there is no reason not to check out this band. Again, I've not heard their old stuff, but IfSounds does sound like a band with new energy coming into their own both in composition and performance. I sense we have not heard the last from them. 3 ˝ stars for a good melodic prog album which I very much enjoyed. Congrats to IfSounds for their new label relationship and a bright future!

Finnforest | 3/5 |


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