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Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM) - Per Un Amico CD (album) cover

PER UN AMICO

Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.42 | 1092 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Negoba
Prog Reviewer
4 stars One Gem in a Fine Jewelry Store

PFM's Per Un Amico currently sits atop the RPI charts, and it is only in my recent return to the genre that I finally sunk my teeth into this classic. To be sure, this is a monumental album deserving of careful listening. The band jams so much wonderful music into 34 minutes that it's almost too much. Actually, it is too much. With the exception of the superb title tune, the pieces on this album try too hard, jump around too often, and suffer from "kitchen sink syndrome." Individual sections are often beautifully conceived and marvelously executed. However, they don't always cohere.

Adding to the ELP / KC influenced sound of the debut, PFM has clearly listened to some Gentle Giant in the meantime. An already eclectic mix of styles now has complex contrapuntal ideas thrown in. When it works, it's great. (Says this GG devotee). But juxtaposed with soaring mellotron and almost discoish vocals at parts, this new twist is an expression of a band still finding its identity. The opening and closing songs are the strongest examples of this. With breathtaking passages that don't quite relate, both "Appena un Po" and "Geranio" give us wonderful flavors but not a full conceived dish.

"Per Un Amico" the song is an exception. Here we have some melodic motifs that tie the song together throughout a slowing building and emotionally evocative contour. Despite the simple acoustic guitar following monumental synths, time changes, and wide dynamic range, the song is just that. A song. In fact, I might place it as my favorite in RPI, the most memorable. No matter how grand your ambitions in music, the human mind will grab onto a melodic theme. It can be harsh, wierd, complex, or beautifully simple. But that's what remains when the instruments quiet. "Per Un Amico" has this while the other tracks don't.

In contrast, "Il Banchetto" starts beautifully in a very Genesis-like pastoral manner but then midway turns into an ELP key fest that certainly isn't as indulgent as the famous trio, but still diverges from the musical point. Fun, to be sure. Again, I return to the term "ear candy." One part has an almost video-game like quality (long before they existed).

Overall, I think the band has certainly pushed themselves after their debut and have produced an album that has something new to say. It's certainly an excellent part of any prog collection. Just not a masterpiece to this pair of ears.

Negoba | 4/5 |

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