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Odissea - Odissea CD (album) cover




Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.49 | 44 ratings

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4 stars A gorgeous album!

How is it possible this band is so overlooked at a site full of RPI fans? This is a wonderful classic period RPI release which belongs in the collection of every RPI fan. Odissea from Biella are one of the many "one-shot" RPI bands who made up the amazingly deep bench of the early 70s Italian scene. There is very little biographical information out there but we do know the band played at the third Naples Festival, had a solid live activity, and even opened for Genesis and Banco. This makes sense as the band would seem to be influenced by those bands and also early Yes. There is also the wonderful Italian essence running through the album and I am reminded of other RPI on the softer side of things, of certain works by Battiato, Blocco Mentale, Franco Giannini, Mario Panseri, and Stefano Testa. Only occasionally are any of these comparisons relevant as Odissea has crafted their own sound, with themes both sad and uplifting, sometimes dramatic and often sentimental.

Unlike many RPI bands who favored a heavily keyboard-dominated sound, Odissea places the guitar work of Luigi Ferrari on at least equal billing. Ferrari sounds like a fan of Yes Album-era Steve Howe and supplies the album with almost equal amounts of excellent acoustic and electric guitar. Meanwhile Ennio Cinguino bathes the album in generous amounts of piano, organ, and mellotron. He shades the work from soft and atmospheric with the tron to occasional Banks-like moments not unlike the Foxtrot era sound. The lead vocal is handled with great vitality by Roberto Zola, whose raspy throat is often compared to Jumbo's Alvaro Fella. Vocally it is a fair comparison although the music is Odissea is not as wild as Jumbo. The rhythm section is also decent with the occasionally jazzy sections finding a driving bass reminiscent of Chris Squire.

I suppose most of the tracks could be called light symphonic with brief bits of folk or fusion incorporated, the songwriting always interesting and melodic. The playing is intelligent and often very beautiful without being overblown. There are many musical highlights but my favorite was the joyous "Domanda." It is not often I find myself compelled to type lyrics into Google Translator to find out what a song is about, but I had to do it here. The reason, a small child named Simona. The song is a dreamy blur of beautiful slide guitar over which Simona and Zola have a priceless exchange. While the translation I got was no doubt a clumsy one, as they always are, I was able to deduce that the child is asking Zola those universal questions little kids often ask, about God, the universe, where we come from. A song like this could be a disaster but here it works so very well. Charming and memorable, it's another of those RPI tracks where the voices of children are put to good use.

For many prog fans this might well be a 3-star "good" album but I have to give this one 4. I disagree with some of the opinions of this album, Scented Gardens in particular is brutal to Odissea. While it is not the most daring or brash of RPI albums, it is warm and lovely music that most RPI fans would really enjoy.

Finnforest | 4/5 |


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