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Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM) - L'Isola Di Niente CD (album) cover


Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)


Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.23 | 780 ratings

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4 stars After raiding in the realms of the English language with album "Photos of Ghosts", PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI returned to their native tongue, the charming and expressive Italian, just to gift us with another great release, "L'Isola Di Niente", although not in the same level of their first two releases. I really don't know how they succeeded recording in a foreign language (for them) but for me the artistic result was little appreciated. Maybe the most perceptible act was that PFM became better known outside Italy, especially in the more profitable UK market. If that was the intention then they probably got an extended audience and some bona fide payments in pounds. Well, I listened to their English language work with few attention and got little pleasure which made me go directly to this particular release, eager to hear the same lovable tunes I had heard before.

I remember also that time gap between hearing the two first band output and "L'Isola di Niente" wasn't significant but PFM presented a slightly different approach to progressive music. Band works were still appreciable but to reach the same standard of brilliance achieved before was an impossible mission, even so they got near, very near.

Opening song, the title-track is a kind of mid-size epic, beginning with exquisite and beautiful chant, sometimes odd, sometimes opera-like, a choir of strange voices. All this quaintness is subtly replaced by heavy guitar and drumming, a pure rock with faded vocals; the sensation of being alone in a distant isola (island) is meaningful. Intermediary section is a pure progressive tune: flute, keyboards, acoustic guitar melt to form a splendid theme trimmed by windy sound effects. En suite, a jazz-rock fusion segment tells us vividly the anguish of being nobody in the crowd and then the post-initial theme returns with the same vanishing voices and rock riffs. Song ending with guitars a la Floyd shows us the sadness of being lost in this world. This is really an unique piece!

'Is my face on straight?' is sung in English, a language not fitted for PFM's music. The song itself isn't bad bearing a good blend of instruments and a fair singing attempt; influences from other bands (specifically from Britain) are clearly noticeable: Tull, Genesis, Yes - a sortilege of them. Even so uncharacterized the track is fairly audible.

'La luna nova' has an intro resembling Floyd's 'Money' only to be substituted by a pastoral theme backed by flutes and following parts of rock, jazz and folk moods. Middle section is authentic PFM, with the band at their best; the joyful tunes remind us great moments of their first albums. The nervous and active last minute is another very progressive segment of the album and the real final is very surprising too.

'Dolcissima Maria' is a bucolic and catchy song, a soft interval after too many emotions. Vocals are pleasant and flute playing is agreeable. An uplifting track, indeed.

'Via Lumiere', the instrumental final track, begins with heavy bass edging some experimentalism. Before dullness dominates keyboard chords are heard and soon the atmosphere is transformed into a series of time changes and different signatures; now, the band jazz influences are notorious but again there's a sudden metamorphosis and a delightful psychedelic tune overcomes in a Beatles or Moody Blues manner heralding album's closure. Enjoyable.

Surely, PREMIATA produced a great output, keeping the standard of previous Italian-sung ones. Here we have a compulsory addition to any music collection. Final rating: 4.

Atkingani | 4/5 |


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