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Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso - Darwin! CD (album) cover

DARWIN!

Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.38 | 733 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
4 stars 'Darwin!' - Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso (8/10)

Although some would say that the best output with this band was from their second work 'Io Sono Nato Libero', I would argue that Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso's would reach greater heights with their classic album, 'Darwin!' Banco are held to be one of the staple acts in the Italian progressive rock scene along with Premiata Forneria Marconi and Le Orme, and while my heart has generally tended to sway towards PFM, Banco's third record plants them in my mind as one of the greatest exports of rock music that Italy ever produced. A jazzy and often theatrical album, 'Darwin!' is a work of near-equal parts harmony and complexity, and stands as being one of the records from the Italian scene that has really stood the test of time.

One of Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso's defining traits in my eyes was their leanings towards jazz music. Although this is still rock by most any interpretation, Banco would often fuse sounds of jazz in order to give their band a little different flair than the typically symphonic Italian acts. Although the trademarks of Italian prog are still here- including the dramatic sound and synth-heavy sound- jazz is once again a very important aspect of Banco's music, especially when they roll into their instrumental segments. 'L'Evoluzione' is a perfect way to open up this album, with the distinctive vibrato of vocalist Franceso DiGiacomo delivering some of the band's most memorable melodies. Mellotrons are in heavy use here, and the album starts on a very dynamic note, going from romantic mellowness to feelings of climactic peril all within the space of the first ten minutes. 'La Conquista Della Posizione Eretta' picks up where the first track left off and almost feels invisible due to the fact that 'L'Evoluzione' flows into it so damned well. Before I know it, the album is already halfway through the third track,

Banco's greatest aspect is their jazzy roots in my opinion in any case, and while their symphonic prog elements are admirable, I sometimes feel that they try to get too aggressive and complex, robbing the music of some of its emotional power for me. The band's talent is remarkable however, and there is still plenty of nuance that helps me to see why it is so highly regarded by many progressive rock listeners. My one real gripe with 'Darwin!' is that I do not really hear a standout track here; a song that helps me first build a real connection with the album, as I am able to do with albums I consider masterpieces. The music on 'Darwin!' runs together fairly smoothly as an album; much more so than 'Io Sono Nato Libero', and with this added sense of flow for the album, Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso have created an excellent album here.

Conor Fynes | 4/5 |

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