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Nuova Idea - Clowns CD (album) cover


Nuova Idea


Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.69 | 94 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

3 stars Not that I "hate" people or things but only using that term to accent the review. Over the years I've sort of had a "love"/"hate" relationship with this particular album. There are times when I can listen to this album and enjoy it. There are other times where I can't get past the first 10 minutes of it.

I bought this album as an import back in 1998 because I thought the album cover was "cool" and I was just getting into RPI (wow, what a world that opened up for me) and I was hearing albums like Felona E Sorona, Palepoli, Ys, Locanda Della Fate, QVL, etc.. for the first time and was being blown away.

I expected more from the album because of my idiotic biased to the cool-looking-colorful-cover (and anything to do with clowns in progressive music tends to make me think of King Crimson, Marillion's Jestures, Moody Blues "Your painted smile", etc..) than I got as they say "You can't judge an album by it's cover". The first song instantly reminds me of Prologue from Gentle Giant's album a year earlier than this release. Ok, I thought... They're paying homage. Then another review back in 1998 said the last song "Una Vita Nuova" was pretty much a clone of Zeppelin's "Going to California" so after listening to that several times, I thought "I guess I can see the similarities... Neither the opening or closing tracks blowing me away at all. What we have left are the tracks in between. When I bought this album, one of my RPI friends (a half a world away) told me (this was 1998 mind you before RPI really got more widespread exposure in the USA due to great web-sites like this) that this album was great due to the amazing vocals of Ricky Belloni (whom I never heard since I was just getting into RPI). As I listened to tracks 2 thru 4 back then, I remember initially being annoyed by Belloni's vocals as they seemed way overkill. A little of that goes a long way. But then again I was reminded of Pavlog's Dog. Over several listens I got used to Belloni's vocals but there was something "musically" about this album (after many listens) that never really grabbed me. So it got added to my list of cds to trade (we were trading albums we bought but did not care for as much with various people over the years. It was completely legal since we bought them and since this was bakc in 1998 (when there was not much out there in the way of reviews and youtube and other sites you could sample the music first) ) and it was a way to somehow minimize our "going broke" due to our addiction to this wonderful music. We were dropping $100 down on 4-5 albums that we never even heard hoping that all would be great.

Anyhow, I was way more pleasantly surprised at Nuova Idea's "Mr. E Jones" and still consider that album to be their Magnum Opus. You don't have Belloni's shrieking vocals on that album and you have some very nice memorable melodies on that album (including the final song on that album which is one of the most beautiful RPI songs in existance (IHMO)).

So I've since reacquired this album due to the "I really like the Mr. E Jones"-thing. And I've sort of learned to "accept" this album for Belloni's vocals as well as the lack-of-originality and this album took a while for me to upgrade it from a ** effort to a *** effort but I think that's the most I can ever give it. "Mr. E Jones", on the other hand, is a **** effort as there's some really good stuff on that album that makes it far better to my ears than this album.

But when the time is right and i"m in the mood to hear this, "Clowns" makes for an entertaining listen at parts. But I will always have that "This could have been a much better album than it is"-feeling about this. Maybe because of my bias that this followed up the 'much better' Mr. E Jones.

I still feel if you have to pick just 1 album from this band, it needs to be "Mr. E Jones" (which is a top notch high end B-tier RPI album (maybe even borderline A-tier). "Mr E Jones" had some really nice ideas and jams and ballads and the mighty mellotron in the fantastic closer. Much more natural and flowing.

"Clowns", on the other hand, shows the band forcing themselves too hard to create something that seemed "unnatural" to them in order to cater to the vocals of Belloni. So unnatural, in essance, that they had to even use a Gentle Giant melody ("Prologue") and even (as the one site said) refer to Zeppelin's "Going to California" to somehow pad the album out to the the approx 35 minutes that this was.

Could it be that this album did the band in as it would be their final album?

Anyhow, there are many RPI albums better than this one is but this one is worth a listen as it may strike a better chord with you than it did with me. If you do like this, I'd be curious to hear what you think of their previous album "Mr. E Jones" (which I thought was far better). The other thing I like better about "Mr. E Jones" were the warm ballads and mellotron washes interludes amongst the hard rocking/prog jams. This particular album does not really have those warm ballads and mellotron washes and is more rock-heavy with the "controversial vocals".

Still though it gets a *** rating but is definitely not essential.

Ironically for me, Belloni sounds much better as a vocalist with his work with the New Trolls. On this album, he simply "Grates too much". Sounds more like a manic version of Pavlogs Dog (which can be a selling point for some people and which can kill the album for other people).

progbaby | 3/5 |


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