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Flea Topi O Uomini album cover
3.41 | 53 ratings | 10 reviews | 6% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1972

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Topi O Uomi (20:21)
2. Amazzone A Piedi (4:08)
3. Sono Un Pesce (6:28)
4. L'Angelo Timido (5:49)

Total Time: 36:46

Line-up / Musicians

- Carlo Pennisi "Charlie" / guitars, mandolin, vocals
- Antonio Marangolo "Tony" / piano, harmonium, harmonica, lead vocals
- Elio Volpini "Nigel" / bass, soprano sax, vocals
- Agostino Marangolo "Dustin" / drums, percussion, vibes

Releases information

LP Fonit ‎- LPQ 09070 (1972, Italy)
LP Vinyl Magic ‎- VMLP093 (2009, Italy)

CD Fonit Cetra ‎- CDM 2030 (1989, Italy)
CD VM 2000 ‎- VM CD 093 (2004, Italy)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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FLEA Topi O Uomini ratings distribution

(53 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(6%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(38%)
Good, but non-essential (40%)
Collectors/fans only (15%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

FLEA Topi O Uomini reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars 4.5 stars mainly on the excitement that this guitar-driven proto-prog-rock that is developed here. Flea is the second album of this band that recorded three albums with the same line-up but changed names.

Generally Italian bands are not remembered for guitar heroics but in this one and on Garibaldi's Nuda, this is like a guitar overdose but in the positive way. We are not in a typically prog format, although the longer tracks allowing for much musical interplay and the sheer musical abilities from the participants especially the drummer and the guitarist.

Side 1 has a side-long title track that is halfway into a long jam and a prog number including many lengthy but outstanding solos. The feeling is somewhere between Lard Free's debut and Black Sabbath's first two albums and you can feel the almost violent enthusiasm of the guys . It sure feels good. Exhilaration is around the bend....

Side 2 is made from three mid-length tracks, the first of which is probably the most prog in construction and the following one giving on a peek at their calmer/softer side. The final track is a great return towards the opening track and making you regret that this album is so short. The vocals, I would qualify as typically Italian can surprise with this high-powered rock but certainly do not shock: in fact they are fairly appropriate.

As I said above, this album is not that prog in terms of the usual/conventional definitions developed on all sides but is more than linked to it by sheer virtuosity and an almost Ramone-like enthusiasm that makes this album a 70's gem etiquette that should be discovered urgently by all progheads. Exhilarating and almost orgasmic.....

Review by erik neuteboom
3 stars Here's another wonderful digipack distribution by the prolific Italian label Btf. The information is in Italian and English, embellished with nice pictures. Flea made 3 LP's: the poorly rated Flea On The Honey (1971), Topi O Uomini (1974) and finally their most acclaimed effort Etna (1975). The album Topi O Uomini opens with the long titletrack (around 20 minutes) that sounds as energetic rock: powerful vocals, raw guitar (lots of fiery and moving solos), bluesy harmonica and a propulsive rhythm-section (evoking Led Zeppelin). The other 3 tracks (between 4 and 7 minutes) deliver more variety, also due to the wider range of instruments, from vibraphone and pianoforte to mandoline, soprano-saxophone and acoustic guitar. We can enjoy a sound that alternates from heavy to jazzy, very pleasant if you like the typical rock sound of the Seventies and Flea added some fine progressive ideas.

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars For lovers of the rock JAM

In the annals of Italian rock the Sicilian band Flea is yet another group with a roller-coaster history. Originally called Flea In The Honey, their first album was a bit of joke with the label apparently trying to sell them as an English band, going so far as to give them fake names. The music was pretty weak by most estimates although I've not heard it. It was enough to get them playing live on the Italian festival scene and in '72 came this, their second album and under the shortened moniker of Flea. They would split after this one before reuniting in '75 under yet a third band name, Etna. Etna would feature a more fusion-sound and it said to be pretty respectable. But this album is clearly in the hard rock/psych/blues arena with progressive tendencies. It has a fairly heavy English influence to me, and aside from the Italian vocals, sounds much more like it wants to be Zeppelin/Cream/Hendrix Experience than it does Banco or PFM. It features a complete side-long title track with nothing but explosive and bombastic jamming throughout followed by three shorter tracks on side 2.

Scented Gardens explains how the side-long title track "went through several different phases, starting with jazzy percussion and a memorable guitar riff, then introducing chords for the great vocal passage that follows. After some great guitar variations there is a sudden shift to Black Sabbath-tempo heavy rock introducing another melody. This is developed and varied in shifting dynamics with further strong guitar work and vocals. The third and last melody part starts after a short drum solo after 14:56 minutes and is closer to the blues with the addition of harmonica. After a short time this leads into another drum solo, gradually resurrecting the first melodic theme of the song." [SGotM] Taking the view for the opposition, ProgBear is quite passionate: "For me, this is the absolute nadir of the Italian 70's "progressive rock" scene; an absolutely hopeless hard rock band with some half-assed prog pretensions. Awful compositions, clichéd "freak-out" moments and terrible squealy vocalizing make this a must-miss. I find it nigh impossible to believe that this is the exact same band that made the Etna album three years later-how did a band this awful improve that much in three years?" [ProgBear] Personally my views are somewhere in between these polar views: "Topi o uomini" has some moments of great grooving but seems to just be missing one piece of the puzzle, lacking just enough mystery and development in composition to leave me a bit short of satisfied. Leaving that personal lament aside the album rocks with some truly passionate and dinosauric ferocity, heavy and gut-punching rhythms and gruff guitar wailing, sometimes close to a Ted Nugent guitar sound. I can appreciate some of the high energy and occasional Keith Moon or Mitch Mitchell channeling at the drum kit, though albums of such lengthy jamming for the sake of it can get pretty tiring if the compositional goals are not reached or never existed. As a veteran of many garage band jams in my school days I find little on this Flea album that I didn't sit through back then, bobbing my head with beer in-hand, waiting for the well-intentioned young men to finish. Certainly, Flea are better at what they do than most of what I experienced but you have to be one that appreciates the long jam to love this album. For me, while there are some nice rhythm changes, heavy riffs, and interesting individual fireworks sprinkled throughout the long piece it is an occasional play at best. My favorite track on this album is the one the enthusiasts tend to write off: the softer and more "Italian Prog" flavored "Sono un Pesce". It offers up a nice dreamy melody and introspective acoustic guitar that is memorable and pleasing. Perhaps this album will grow on me down the road but for now I'm stuck in one gear with this.

Nevertheless, my taste aside, there is some heavy grooving here that may well appeal to fans of Cream, Hendrix, Rag e Ryggen, or T2. I don't want to be too down on such fun but I can't call this a great album either. Recommended for guitar jam fans or those seeking a deep Italian collection. The BTF/VM gatefold mini-LP sleeve edition is fabulous as usual.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars Very unusual to see a band like this keep the same lineup for three albums but change the name of the band each time. Not necessarily a great marketing idea. The other unusual thing is that each of these 3 albums are very different from one another. Regardless of the behind the scenes stuff this album is a keeper. And thankyou Todd for the recommendation.

"Topi O Uomi" is the side long (over 20 minutes) opening track that does not disappoint. Cymbals to open as guitar joins in. This is very laid back until a minute in when it turns louder and drums and Italian vocals arrive. Nice guitar interlude 3 minutes in. Prominant bass before 4 1/2 minutes as they jam. Vocals are back 6 1/2 minutes in. A ZEPPELIN vibe here. Great sound 8 1/2 minutes in and I love how chunky the bass is.The guitar solos tastefully with vocal melodies before 12 minutes. Nice. It's the bass and drum show after 14 minutes. Vocals are back 15 1/2 mintes in.Harmonica a minute later. Cymbals only after 17 1/2 minutes with some faint whistling before our main theme returns a minute later. Vocals follow. This is great !

"Amazzone A Piedi" is fairly uptempo and heavy. I like the fast paced vocals that come and go.The guitar after 2 minutes starts to light it up. "Sono Un Pesce" opens with vocals and a melancholic mood. Vibes follow. Sax after 3 minutes as we get an instrumental interlude that ends before 5 1/2 minutes. "L'angelo Timido" kicks in quickly and with aggression. I like the vocal style here. This is raw and heavy. Nice bass solo before 3 1/2 minutes. The guitar is back followed by harmonica as the bass continues to dig deep.

This deserves 4 stars in my opinion. Too much here to like. Their next album under the name ETNA would be a Jazz / Fusion album. Go figure ?

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars Heavy prog with bilingual vocals. That's the bill presented here with "Topi O Uomini". This is very typical for the early seventies, but not from an Italian band.

The long and epic title track features long solos which were more popular during live sets that while played in the studio (but there are some exceptions like this one). Unlike some fellow reviewer, I don't like the vocal parts available: more of a long shouting effect than pleasant. But the musical style doesn't leave much space for sweetness and delicacy in the vocal department.

Guitar work is excellent though and brings this long song to good levels indeed . If you like the work from Bambi Fossati with "Gleemen" and "Garybaldi"; there are lots of chances that you will like this album as well. Still, this drum solo is not at all useful. The closing and bluesy section is not the best either.

The next song is heavy, loose, incoherent and without structure ("Amazzone A Piedi"). The disjointed character of "Flea" 's music is totally present in the good psychedelic "Sono Un Pesce". Some sort of early Floyd psychedelia ("ASOS") full of phantasmagoria and craziness. Be ready for quite a "trip".

The basic and wild heavy rock is back for the closing track of this album: "L'Angelo Timido" can be described as a short counterpart of the title track, just that solo are shorter.

I'm not very found of this album. Three stars. But be aware that this album has nothing to share with Italian music.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars A Rome-based group formed by Sicilian natives, they started as Flea On The Honey with all members using English pseudonyms in a common line of many Italian groups.After playing at the Viareggio 1971 Pop Festival they released a self-titled Hard Rock debut on the Delta label, entirely sung in English.A few gigs later, among them a good performance at the famous Rome Villa Pamphili Festival, they shortened their name to Flea and the members reappeared with their normal names, Antonio Marangolo on vocals, piano, flute and harmonica, Carlo Pennisi on guitar, mandolin and vocals, Agostino Marangolo on drums, vibraphone and vocals and Elio Volpini on bass, saxophone, guitar and vocals.Second album ''Topi o uomini'' was released in 1972 on the Fonit label.

The entire opening side is dedicated to the 20-min. title-track, the band had eventually switched to the Italian language, but if this was an instrumental work I would have propably mistaken it for a lost Kraut Rock release.A Hard/Psych Rock tour-de-force with psychedelic jams, mascular riffs and solos and doomy grooves with upfront bass lines.The Italian vocals add a sense of harmony at moments, even if these are delivered with a raw edge, but the music is extremely rough with a guitar-driven sound and a muddy production with only some harmonica added in the process.Consider it more of a loose execution of hard and psychedelic elements and the result will be pretty pleasant.The flipside opens with ''Amazzone a piedi'', which is a bit more ''musically adapted'' with Flea continuing to offer hard-edged power Rock with interesting vocal exercises and sharp guitar parts, which now contain some nice and sudden breaks and moves in dual deliveries.''Sono un pesce'' is an attempt on more proggy and flexible offerings with the addition of vibraphone, acoustic guitars and piano, resulting to a more poetic and romantic intro, which leads to a slow-motion Psych Rock enviroment with the display of interesting sax lines and the omnipresent guitar leads.''L'angelo timido'' is a dominant and complex rocker with energetic electric guitars and a great instrumental middle-part with guitar and bass intercations and some bluesy tunes towards the end.

Elio Volpini soon went on to join L' Uovo di Colombo, replaced by Fabio Pignatelli, who's stint with the band lasted for only two tours, after which he moved to Cherry Five/Goblin.The original Flea quartet reformed in 1975 under the name of Etna and a more Jazz Rock-oriented style.

Rough Hard/Psych Rock, definitely one of the most angular Italian albums of the style, a bit similar to OSAGE TRIBE but with looser executions.Good for what it is, a sufficient listening for all fans of guitar-driven adventures.Recommended.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Sandwiched between their beat/psych debut and jazz fusion masterpiece, Flea (aka Flea on The Honey, aka Etna) produced a monster hard rock album in 1972 on the Fonit label. While some may be reluctant to call this "prog" or progressive rock, if a twenty minute jam in three movements ain't pro ... (read more)

Report this review (#851709) | Posted by coasterzombie | Tuesday, November 6, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars INTROSPECTIVE MAGNETISM WITH CHANGE OF PERSONNEL AND IDEAS... BUT... ROVESCIO DELLA MEDAGLIA IT WAS REINCERNATED AS TOPI O UOMINI! In fact 'Topi O Uomini' (eng: 'Mouses or Men) is the 2nd album of Flea On The Honey/ Flea/ Etna but it is also a new RDM album in 'La Bibbia' stile! Other words.. ... (read more)

Report this review (#242139) | Posted by 1967/ 1976 | Wednesday, September 30, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars REALLY: 4,50 (ESSENTIAL!!! Masterpiece of Prog Music!!! ESSENTIAL IN EVERY DISCOGRAPHY!!!) Good album of Prog, even if the long "Topi O Uomini" and "Amazzone A Piedi" play too pure Hard Rock. To the alone end "L'Angelo Timido" plays fusion, even if not in the style of Perigeo. Best the guit ... (read more)

Report this review (#69036) | Posted by | Saturday, February 11, 2006 | Review Permanlink

2 stars The album is quite good, good music and ideas; the only thing that really don't work are vocals, without a great voice it is useless making all that great quality of instrumental work. It is a real matter for about all italian bands that tried to make clever music; the only bands with great voc ... (read more)

Report this review (#19002) | Posted by | Thursday, February 10, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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