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Le Orme - Venerdi CD (album) cover

VENERDI

Le Orme

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

1.82 | 29 ratings

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coasterzombie
3 stars Venerdi is not nearly as bad as it's made out to be. True, the 80s production sounds dated by today's standards, but at the heart of the album is core Le Orme songwriting and memorable melody. Aldo Tagliapietra's voice sounds as pure and welcoming as it did ten years prior when the band recorded their acclaimed Felona e Sorona. Knowing what to expect when you go in and accepting it for what it is will garner a limited appreciation for Venerdi: This is not a prog album per se, but a prog band adapting to and embracing the electronic sounds of the day with success. I would argue Le Orme succeed on a level equal to Genesis' output of the same period, but failed to reinvent themselves as King Crimson did during the 1980s. The result is a satisfactory offering that was regrettably ignored and led to an 8-year hiatus for the group.

The lead-off track "Biancaneve" was used as the title for the Replay Music CD issue in 1995. For the purposes of this review, I will refer to the Self label's 2009 reissue, which faithfully recreates the original LP cover art and adds two bonus tracks. "Biancaneve" may alarm the Le Orme faithful, especially following the baroque-inspired Florian and Piccola Rapsodia Dell'Ape. The tone is decidedly commercial, although it does allude to the previous two albums by way of a Marimba intro, and steel drum accents throughout. The interesting "Arianna" does a great job of blending world music with electronic flourishes and the quintessential Le Orme romanticism. "Cechero" is the first moment that may cause you to think "what have I gotten myself into?" and scorn your listening choice. "La Notte" will either renew faith in the band's new direction or cause further derision.

"Venerdi" is the album's centerpiece and a capable instrumental. Remove the gated drum sound and digital synths and you're left with a vintage Le Orme composition that would not sound out of place on Contrappunti. "Marinai" loses the processed drums in favor of organic textures, and is reminiscent of 1977's Storia O Leggenda. "Storie Che Non Tornano" however is a byproduct of the era, and feels obsolete. "Rubacuori" tries to echo the standard Le Orme ballad formula, and does so with mixed results. "La Sorte" may be the most embarrassing track here, and is obvious filler material. "Com'era Bello" completes the original running order, and effectively summarizes the album's sonority, for better or worse. The two bonus tracks add limited value to an album that is ultimately for Le Orme loyalists only.

coasterzombie | 3/5 |

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