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Sensations' Fix - Finest Finger  CD (album) cover


Sensations' Fix

Psychedelic/Space Rock

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4 stars "Fragments of Light" might be SENSATIONS' FIX's best known album, only because that's their only album to be reissued on CD, the rest you simply have to get on LP. "Finest Finger" is their third album, in which they added a second keyboardist named Steve Head. I am rather bewildered as to why they needed a second keyboardist? Especially since this album is more guitar dominated than "Fragments of Light". Regardless, it's not a bad album, but four of the album's eight cuts have vocals and you can be sure vocals aren't the band's high point (that explains why "Fragments of Light" only features vocals on two cuts, and "Portable Madness" was completely instrumental). There's some great instrumental pieces two, like "Yardbirds Dream" and "Just a Little Bit More on the Curve". "Boat of Madness" is one of the better vocal tracks here, with some interesting use of guitar, then it ends with some cool spacy electronic effects.

The most strange part is two of the songs are re-recordings of stuff from their previous album, "Portable Madness", but with added-on vocals. Those songs from that album, "Leave My Chemistry Alone" and "Strange About the Hands" became "Finest Finger" and "Strange About Your Hands". Sounded like the band ran out ideas. They should have spent their time doing completely new compositions rather than wasting their time recycling stuff from "Portable Madness". The music overall is much similar to "Portable Madness", except more accessible, and vocals are on half the album, and unfortunately the synthesizers don't play as much of a role. The means you won't find anything like "Nuclear War In Your Brain", "Space Closure" (both "Fragments of Light") or "With Relative Jump Into Water" ("Portable Madness") here. Still, I feel "Fragments of Light" is their best album, so start there.

Report this review (#29112)
Posted Friday, May 7, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Finest Finger is overall regarded as the best album from SENSATIONS' FIX and sure it is. With the respect to preceding albums this one is maybe less complex, but surely more lyric oriented and little more dark and less crauty. The songs are 3-5 minutes long but all very interesting. The introduction of the keyboard player Steve Head brought the leader Franco Falsini to mainly concentrate on lyrics and sound. The Falsini's vocalism is a bit Peter Gabriel oriented, but the sound is widely different from any Genesis orientation. His guitar solos are finely inspired, not so fast, but full of feeling and effects. All the musicians are at their best and please pay a little attention to the very personal style of the drummer, especially in Just a little bit more on the curve, which also has a great acoustic guitar solo in the middle, and Yardbirds dream. The Boat of Madness is wonderful in sound, lyrics and feeling. It's all based on the two whistles and is pervaded by a very dark atmosphere, darker than in the whole album. Starting from the beautiful Strange About Your Hands and going through the other 8 songs this 35 minutes long album is a perfect introduction in the crosscontamination of electronic waves with prog music.

Three poin five Stars and a bow to Franco Falsini, wherever is he nowadays!

Report this review (#168682)
Posted Friday, April 25, 2008 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars This album isn't as spacey as "Portable Madness" and it has shorter more accessible tracks on it. Also half the tracks have vocals on them, it's almost like they were trying to become more commercial sounding.

"Strange About Your Hands" was also on "Portable Madness" but without the vocals.This is one of my favourites on here though. The guitar is melancholic to open as vocals join in quickly with bass. A fuller sound when the chorus arrives. The contrast continues. I really like the guitar 2 minutes in and it eventually starts to cry out as the bass throbs. "Just A Little Bit More On The Curve" opens with bass as guitar comes in tastefully with cymbals. Synths a minute in and drums follow. It's cool the way you can hear the two different guitars playing seperately through the left and right speakers. "Yardbirds Dream" is more uptempo as guitar and drums lead the way. "Map" is another favourite of mine. A nice steady beat with guitar sounds so good. Organ comes and goes and drums are prominant late. Beautiful song. "Boat Of Madness" is led early by synths and bass before vocals and drums join in. It becomes psychedelic before 2 1/2 minutes to end it.

"The Left Side Of The Green" opens with guitar, keys and drums as vocals join in. Nice bass a minute in. I love the guitar 1 1/2 minutes in, back to vocals a minute later. A hypnotic beat as the guitar plays over top after 4 minutes. Nice. "Finest Finger" opens with a great sound of synths and drums as vocals join in quickly. Organ before 1 1/2 minutes and after 2 1/2 minutes. The guitar is melancholic after 3 minutes to end it. Excellent track. "Into The Memory" is led by synths as drums and guitars come in before a minute. One guitar is riffing the other is playing over top. A change 3 minutes in to a more psychedelic sound. Drums come in after 4 minutes.

I really like the cover art front and back with the cartoon picture of the band in the subway. It's 3 dimensional which is cool. I like this record a lot, just an enjoyable and relaxing listen. I still can't believe they're from Italy.

Report this review (#191953)
Posted Friday, December 5, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Very trippy, spacey and trancey and pretty electronic. I'd call the music at different times (or often simultaneously) Psychedelic Space Rock, Psychedelic Krautrock, Progressive Electronic, Psych Ambient, and Kraut Symphonic Prog, as well as rock, jazz, electronic, blues, soul, folk and funk. I hear (across this album (1976), 'Portable Madness' (1974) and 'Fragments of Light' (1974)--the three i've heard) similarities to Ashra, Pink Floyd, Ash Ra Tempel, A.R. & Machines, Genesis, Hawkwind, Nektar, Eloy, Black Sabbath, Fripp/Eno, Agitation Free, Brainticket, Kalacakra, Popol Vuh.. Their sound manages to be fresh and distinct from each of these bands, with a very creative and original musical sensibility. "Strange About Your Hands" is a fuller and more inspired and focused version of the section "Strange About The Hands" on their previous album 'Portable Madness' and "Finest Finger" is likewise a more developed version of that respective section on 'Portable Madness'. "Maps" is a great track for me although it is not imperfect

This album isn't as good as either "Fragments of Light" or "Portable Madness", though it comes close. Much like the magnificent Anyone's Daughter in that their albums, at least the three listed above have a slightly different inspired take on a very signature style.


Report this review (#214794)
Posted Monday, May 11, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
3 stars Sensations Fix come from Italy but I find that as hard to believe as the fact that this album is from 1976. This fluid psychedelic rock with weird harmonics and punk vibe rather seems to come from Germany, and the hazy sound almost belongs to the end 80's psych revival of bands like Loop and Spacemen3. But Italy 1976 it is.

My favourite is the opener, a gripping rock song with dreamy guitar chords and chorused bass guitar. The refrain boast a crunchy riff with a type of distortion that sounds exactly like one of my favourite American post-punk bands from a few years later, The Wipers. Coincidence? I don't know, but even the song could have been on a Wipers album. It's sure very refreshing to hear this type of song and sound as early as 1976.

The opener is followed by a string of more traditional and mainly instrumental psychedelic rock songs. All of them driven by upbeat drums and groovy Eastern-tinged bass and guitar riffs. All songs have a slightly off-hand feel, as if they were demo recordings. Not that the sound is bad, it's very clear and organic, but there's a loose vibe, suggestion the guys were mainly just having a bit of fun.

Hawkwind must have been a sure influence. Boat Of Madness reminds me of the Hawk-sound of those years, a sound that came close to early post-punk bands like Magazine, especially due to the way synths are used, not as a solo instrument but rather to add that typical cold atmosphere and catchy melodic leads. The track Finest Finger is a great example of it.

The album is a bit short and apart from the stunning opener it lacks true eye-catchers to warrant more then 3 stars from me. But it's a very nice album nevertheless!

Report this review (#281898)
Posted Friday, May 14, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Guitarist Franco Falsini and his band Sensations' Fix released only a handful of LPs in their prime, which would seem to mark them as something less than a success story but more than a cult act. Things might have been different if Falsini had showed more interest in making money instead of music. But that was never his aim, and his lifelong indifference to anything outside the actual music has kept it fresh, if undeservedly neglected.

The band's third album, from 1976, is more or less typical of the distinctive Fix style: economical synth and guitar explorations, on a tighter leash than most Space Rock. The amateur home production is a handicap, and demands a little forbearance when heard today. Richard Ursillo's bass guitar is mixed too low, and the ace drumming of Keith Edwards (another American expat, outnumbering the locals in a supposedly Italian group) is often inaudible.

An optimist might say the inadequate sound quality helped to keep the music safely insulated from the multi-track excesses of the era. In my own experience, this and other Sensations' Fix albums enjoyed complete immunity from the irrational Post-Punk vinyl purges that decimated my once-proud Progressive Rock library, precisely because of that diamond-in-the-rough quality. Despite their cosmic attitude the Fix was a garage band at heart, and needs to be approached as such.

So ignore the muddy sound, and the glossy ineptitude of the front cover art. The gritty photograph inside the original gatefold sleeve, showing the quartet at work in their makeshift basement studio outside Florence, Italy, is a more honest representation of their music: the dystopian energy of the song "Boat of Madness"; the sci-fi trippiness of the title track; the ecstatic "Map".

And above all, the insinuating "Strange About Your Hands": a Fix classic, revamped (with lyrics) from an earlier instrumental, business as usual for the parsimonious Falsini. The guitarist would frequently recycle the same music under different titles, mostly to confound the bean-counters at Polydor Records, who weren't really listening anyway. At one point the band even released an entire album outside Falsini's contract with Polydor ("Vision's Fugitives", an apt title), upsetting their paymasters and further confusing their recorded legacy.

Robert Fripp, an acknowledged hero to Falsini, once wrote: "The business of a musician is music. The business of a professional musician is business." That was Sensations' Fix: a group straddling the hard line separating boundless amateurs from reluctant professionals.

Three strong stars for this effort, with another added for taking the high road to obscurity.

Report this review (#1522821)
Posted Sunday, January 31, 2016 | Review Permalink

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