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Angelo Branduardi - La pulce d'acqua CD (album) cover


Angelo Branduardi


Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.83 | 26 ratings

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4 stars "My name is death and I'm wearing the crown I'm your sole lord and master I'm so cruel, strong and rough all your walls can't stop me" ( I have re-translated this from a german translation to the opening track "Ballo in Fa diesis Minore" - "Dance in F# Minor" ).

You don't expect a record that starts out with lyrics like these to be an uplifting and enchanting one, or do you ? But in spite of what you may think ( and in spite of some slowies on it ): "La Pulce d'Acqua" is Branduardi's most uplifting collection of songs, a wonderful celebration of life. With the success of "Alla Fiera dell' est" and in spite of the pressures there must have been to produce a worthy follow-up, Branduardi seemed to be more confident than ever to go his own way, and this, simple as it sounds, is what he did. The minstrel had found his audience in the 20th Century - and offered it a fine, inspired and well performed bunch of melodies, many of them easy-going. Once you got through the rather straining intro of "Ballo" with all its bagpipe-noises, you can't help but feel so good you don't hear the large amount of work behind those recordings. It's so infectious cause it's got such a wonderful flow - even the sad tunes, mainly "Il Marinaio" and "La Sposa Rubata", don't interrupt it cause you rather marvel at their magical beauty than feel saddened, it's only when you arrive at the end - with the "most proggy" piece on the album, "La bella Dama sensa Pieta" - that you may feel disturbed ( or, out for a progressive adventure, get interested ), cause otherwise the whole album is a stupendous example of... hm... high quality entertainment combining rather simple songs ( not many refrains - if the verses are ear-wigs for themselves you don't need any ! ) with great arrangements, subtle orchestration ( master of both: Maurizio Fabrizio ! ) and absolutely flawless performance ( every musician included is worth to be mentioned as a master of his own right ). And, yes, ( with the translations available - I don't speak Italian ) it's got to be said that the lyrics are outstanding as well, mostly due to Angelo's wife Luisa ( who is perhaps the best lyricist he had for his music - no matter how great the poems of WB Yeats and others are ).

But that also means: It's contemporary music no matter if experiments are included ( as are with the beginning and the end ). I can't see it among "prog", and this may be the problem for you. It's a singer/songwriter's pleasure based on folklore and rather lightweight-classical themes - typically Branduardi, with the immortal title-track as his best loved evergreen ever ( here in Germany at least ). You've gotta be out for harmony and beauty rather than really complex structures to understand my rating - if not, please subtract one star in your mind. For Branduardi, though, "La Pulce d'Acqua" remains one of his best albums, a timeless and joyous classic that consolidated his success in the 70s and is well worth being rediscovered at any time by children of all age. As I wrote in my review to "Alla Fiera dell' est" - it's music to fall in love to ( and fall in love with ). A great plus is that, though Angelo truly had found his "formula" by then, it's still different to its predecessors - although those albums ( and, at least. the following "Cogli la prima mela" ) somehow belong together. If you like one you should have them all. And if you like Branduardi - you may wonder where's the fifth star in my rating. But, actually, I can't give it simply because it's no "prog-rock". It's highly recommended, still - cause there's always more than one kind of music that ought to be treasured even if it's a hugely varied and amazing category as is "prog".

If you don't despise contemporary entertainment regard my review a roll-call to stay open minded and allow yourself the pleasures of a child. "Too much head" may be an obstacle - to me, this is music reminding me that life itself is beautiful and sometimes all we have to do is "say yes". Listening to those old, classic albums is always giving me back some of the best feelings I had when I was young and that's a great source of comfort. I remember having tried oil-painting many years ago and although I gave it up soon the best results were achieved with this album on the turntable ! A celebration of life indeed - thanks to all the wonderful musicians involved, and hats off to Angelo Branduardi for always going his way, he should know by now that he's more than a craftsman, he's an inspiring and outstanding artist and remains a strong voice for the beauty of life. Priceless.

rupert | 4/5 |


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