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3 stars Fonetica began life in Mestre in 2011 on the initiative of composer and lyricist Fabio Bello who gathered around him a bunch of musicians who shared his passion for music and committed lyrics linked to the tradition of Italian canzone d'autore. After a good live activity on the local scene and some personnel changes, in 2014 Fonetica self-released a debut album entitled Eppure with a line up featuring along with Fabio Bello (guitar, harmonica, vocals) also Claudio Martinolli (guitar), Douglas D'Este (drums, percussion), Massimiliano Cadamuro (bass, flute, vocals), Riccardo Gallucci (keyboards, vocals) and Silvia Siega (vocals). Some guests helped the band during the recording sessions: Riccardo Scivales (keyboards), Alessandro "Unfolk" Monti (mandolin), Giorgio Cordini (bouzouki), David Boato (trumpet), Giannino Fassetta (bandoneon) and Giuliano Perin (vibraphone, piano) added some nice touches of musical colours to the overall sound and the final result is a good collection of passionate songs and ballads that are worth listening to, even if they are more in the vein of pop rock bands such as I Nomadi than to Premiata Forneria Marconi or Le Orme...

The album opens with three ballads full of positive energy. "Santa pace" (Holy Peace) starts softly, with a delicate sound of flute in the forefront, then the rhythm rises. It's a song against war, inspired by ideals of peace and love... Then "La strada del sole" (Sun Road) invites you to leave behind boredom, old habits and certainties to join the men and women who fight for a change on the streets of the world. Next comes "La legge del branco" (The law of the pack), a song against conformism, consumerism, empty fashions and trivial TV shows...

On "La scuola morta" (School is dead) the rhythm slackens. It's a piece against the current state of the public education in Italy that depicts crumbling schools and the agony of a system that seems to be going downhill in general disinterest. Every now and again it reminds me of Eugenio Finardi but in my opinion this track is too "pedagogical" and not particularly inspired. The following "La nuova guerra" (New war) is better. It's an antimilitarist song with a dark, threatening atmosphere inspired by a book by Bertolt Brecht, Kriegsfibel (War Primer).

"Inno (canzone politica)" (Anthem - Political song) is a reflective piece about the positive values that can be expressed through good politics. Politics is a word that too often is associated only with power, dirty businesses and corruption but here it means freedom, imagination, a white page where you can write down your ideas for a better society, a white canvas where you can paint a better world giving your contribute to the common welfare, overcoming the differences between left and right... The following "Le parole" (The words) is a nice melodic piece veined of light jazzy touches painted by the trumpet of the guest David Boato featuring lyrics about the need to communicate and the thaumaturgic power of words. It leads to the beautiful, dreamy instrumental "Pianeta blu" (Blue Planet)...

"Aspettare" (Waiting) is a light, melodic song of hope that leads to "Posto in affitto" (Rented place), a piece dedicated to Trieste that tells of a serene period that the protagonist spent in that city. "Pioggia pioggia" (Rain rain) features Latin American flavours and celebrates the love for life through the metaphor of rain pouring down allowing mother nature to blossom. The closer "Eppure" (And yet) is based upon a poem by Luisa Moleri that evokes apocalyptic sceneries of war and nevertheless gives room to hope because peace is what really do want and need the humankind...

On the whole, I enjoyed this album, even if Fonetica's music is not particularly challenging or complex and I know that prog lovers could be a bit disappointed. And yet... Have a try!

Report this review (#1652209)
Posted Sunday, December 4, 2016 | Review Permalink
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars Italian group Fonetica formed in Mestre in 2011 around composer, lyricist and guitarist Fabio Bello who connected with several musicians that shared his passion for the Italian canzone d'autore (singer/songwriter) tradition, and after much live activity on the local scene and some line-up changes, Fabio and his musical collaborators were able to record their first album. Arriving in 2014, it's clear with the debut that the initial `songwriter' ambition that led to the forming of the group has evolved and stretched in other directions, and `Eppure' is a fancy, mature collection of passionate eclectic ballads and energetic rock songs performed in Italian enhanced by a colourful variety of instrumentation and shared male/female vocals.

Looking at some of the highlights, opener `Santa Pace' begins as a gentle sparkling piano and flute reflection before picking up in tempo to properly announce the album with Massimiliano Cadamuro's murmuring bass, Claudio Matinolli's reaching electric guitar strains, the driving drumming of Douglas D'Este and gentle wisps of synths, all backing Fabio's commanding vocal lifted by Silvia Siega's stirring backing voice. Both the gutsy `La Strada del Sole' and darker `La Nuova Guerra' have a nice bluesy strut to them, `La Legge del Branco' nails a killer chorus, and `La Scuola Morta' is a frequently acoustic tune wrapped in flute, harmonica and accordion with a boisterous chest-beating group vocal.

Cool pop-rocker `Le Parole' adds lightly jazzy flavours with Riccardo Gallucci's electric piano dreaminess and wafting trumpet, and Silvia takes lead on the breezy and pretty popper `Aspettare', one of the most instantly likeable songs in this set, and there's nicely shimmering vibraphone throughout it too! The longest piece on the album at seven minutes, `Pioggia Pioggia', fuses joyful Latin American flavours with sprightly jazz touches through plenty of nimble soloing and spirited singing but includes an unexpected electronic passage in the middle and lengthy instrumental finale that really shows off the musicians, and `Eppure' is a dignified and hopeful ballad to close on performed with tasteful restraint.

Special attention must go to `Pianeta Blu', a very welcome six-minute instrumental break that slinks with seductive bass, whirring synths, careful percussion, floating flute and exhilarating electric guitar soloing with just a trace of bite, all helping the piece to rise with joy and victory in the final moments - more please next time, Fonetica!

Sixty-seven minutes of music here is probably too much, with a few of the pieces holding a similar sound to each-other, and the disc might be light on serious prog and firmer RPI qualities, but the entire album is full of glorious extended soloing and constant instrumental colour that lift even the more straight-forward songs much higher, even if the tune is always the priority. `Eppure' is a showcase of strong and charismatic singing, smart song-writing that constantly takes unpredictable turns and offers endlessly skilled musicianship, everything performed with honesty and conviction, and it makes for a terrific first release from a talented group of musicians that will hopefully issue a follow-up in the near future.

Four stars for simply a very fine Italian rock album - go on, give it a go!

Report this review (#1701555)
Posted Tuesday, March 14, 2017 | Review Permalink

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