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Hopo - Senti CD (album) cover

SENTI

Hopo

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.42 | 7 ratings

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Finnforest
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Another good bridge band ala Nuova Era

Instead of beginning as a beat band and blossoming with an album in the classic RPI era Hopo were just hatching plans in 1973, the very height of the festival season. School mates in Florence at that time, they started a band and faced the same struggle as others, getting gigs and making little money over the years. By the late1970s they were a good live band but they did not actually release their debut album until 1982. This can be heard in the sound of "Senti", which while capturing the spirit of 1970s Italian prog, sounds to me influenced by post-Gabriel Genesis and American prog/album rock like Kansas, Styx, etc. It's also interesting that while Senti comes before "Script for a Jester's Tear" it has at times the feel of neo-prog. Another reference point could be the second Rousseau album recorded in the same period.

The title track "Senti" is a weak opener which sounds like an attempt at a single, plodding along in entirely predictable verse/chorus fashion. The second track "Per Strada" is where the payoff begins. Lush simulated strings and period synths join with gently strummed acoustic guitar and flute. Devine it is! Then the Italian vocals kick in along with the full band and we're off on a pretty cool 12 minute journey. The mood of the piece is bucolic and mystical, almost like Ant Phillips in the softer renaissance sections before jumping to a Kansas style rock. There are some great, dynamic guitar and keyboard solos! The middle of the album mixes things up nicely with two short tracks, the first a gorgeous acoustic guitar solo, the second a goofy but pleasing bit of band tom-foolery. Together the two pieces seem disjointed but offer an intermission between "Per Strada" and the last two substantive tracks. Both feature passionate lead guitar work by Carlo Poggini and this is what brings it home for me. The closer soars to a big finale that recalls the enthusiasm of the earlier Nuova Era albums. Hopo were good musicians but not chops monsters and the production here is a bit off, but these things didn't bother me in the least. Colorful, energetic, and very accessible, Hopo's first album will please fans of the most typical classic prog rock. It features sassy, fun compositions full of dreams, the wide-eyed aspirations of a bunch of friends having a go at their band. They did a great job.

A good album in my book but probably not a great one historically. The band would break up after this album and reform in the 90s for a second album.

Finnforest | 3/5 |

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