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Franck Carducci - Oddity CD (album) cover

ODDITY

Franck Carducci

 

Crossover Prog

3.46 | 53 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

m2thek
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Franck Carducci is a multi-instrumentalist from the Netherlands who has spent the most of his musical career as an ensemble man in different bands. However, coaxed into working on it by our favorite guitarist, Steve Hackett, here we have Carducci's debut album. While it won't blow you away, Oddity is a fine debut and a fairly promising solo start for the artist.

The main portion of Oddity consists of 4 lengthy tracks all around 10 minutes, and one shorter song in the middle. The majority of the instrumentation is taken by Carducci, playing guitar, keyboard, bass, and even the mandolin. He also sings all of the vocals on the main tracks, as well as harmonizing with himself. There are a handful of instruments played by guests, such as flute and violin, though they only appear on one track each.

The sound of the album is pretty folky, and usually acoustic. The atmosphere is generally calm and peaceful, but in the fourth track, Alice's Eerie Dream, it gets pretty loud and rocky. The piano gets about as much time as the guitar, and provides a few very nice moments. The vocals are sung in English, though they are accented. While there are only a handful of vocal highlights, the singing is generally pretty good. The lyrics deal with myth and fantasy, and are evocative of early Genesis days.

The songs, like the album as a whole, are fine, but rarely anything more. Apart from the first track, which also happens to be the longest, none of the other three long songs break out into very exciting territory. The opening number, however, is composed beautifully, and is the one to feature the flute. It makes you wish that Carducci composed for it on more songs, as it is the highlight of the entire album. The fact that it's John Hackett, which the album cover is very proud to show, doesn't matter too much. It seems more like a name drop, because the part, along with the violin section, could ostensibly be played by anybody. Nevertheless, they are used well, and I'm glad they're on the album, regardless of who is behind the instrument.

Unfortunately the remaining four tracks just don't reach the heights of the introduction. They are nice, and occasionally have their moments, but mostly just meander along until the final notes. The middle song, The Eyes of Age, is a shorter bout of some goofy fun with the violin and mandolin. Even though it's half as long as any other song, it ends up being more enjoyable than either of the two it's sandwiched between or the closer, which are fine, but nothing special.

The bonus material consists of a pretty faithful, but more modern sounding version of The Carpet Crawlers, from The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, and a shorter edit of Alice's Eerie Dream. The former is pretty good, and solidifies Genesis as one of Carducci's influences. The edit is not bad, and puts some of the best part of that song together, but it's nothing you'll take over the full version. These two songs are good, and it's nice to have more material, but they won't change anyone's mind about the album as a whole.

I think if Carducci had focused more on the long dynamic songs like Achilles, and the shorter songs like The Eyes of Age, this album would be a lot stronger. However, the weird middle ground of simple, yet long songs that take up the majority of the album aren't my favorite. Even with three songs that are only OK, Oddity ends up being a pretty good album, and I'm interested to see where the follow up will take Franck Carducci.

m2thek | 3/5 |

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