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Lagartija Particelle album cover
3.82 | 32 ratings | 5 reviews | 19% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 2011

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Idiosincrasia
2. Myths
3. L'Abbraccio
4. Tete
5. Non si puo' cambiare
6. Sbrisiu
7. Particelle
8. Emilia Malinconica

Line-up / Musicians

-Sara Aliani / Vocals and Bass
-Andrea Poggi / Guitar (trumpet in "Non si puo' cambiare")
-Marco Libe / Guitar
-Cristian Piga Alto Saxophone
-Michele Molinari / Drums and Percussions (trumpet in "Particelle")

-Fabrizio Delledonne / keyboards in "Non si pu cambiare", lo-fi piano in "Sbrisiu"
-Cristiano Sanzeri / additional guitars and basses

-Produced by Cristiano Sanzeri and Lagartija
-Music and Lyrics / Lagartija except "Sbrisiu": a piano solo by Fabrizio Delledonne

Releases information

CD: Lizard Records CD-0079 (released Dec 2011)
Recorded: Between April and August 2011 except "Non si puo' cambiare" autumn 2010 by Cristiano Sanzeri.

Thanks to finnforest for the addition
and to finnforest for the last updates
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LAGARTIJA Particelle ratings distribution

(32 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(19%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(56%)
Good, but non-essential (25%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

LAGARTIJA Particelle reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Atmosphere and mood run deep on strong second album

Lagartija are back with their second album and many in the RPI den have been waiting with baited breath to hear the results. It's yet another impressive release from Lizard Records who are one of the best sources for interesting new music. The band from Piacenza formed in 2008 and released their debut album 'Ricordi?' in 2009. Since then it appears they have traded keyboardist Fabrizio Delledonne for second guitarist Marco Libe, though Delledonne does appear as a guest on two tracks. The album compares well with 'Ricordi?' but there are some differences. First, the band's chops are tighter and the album has a better production and firmer, heavier sound when it needs it. Second, I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss the prevalence of Delledonne's keyboards in their sound as he was a huge part of 'Ricordi?'s' success. Third, it seems like Sara is singing less in favor of increased instrumental play. However the reduction of these two pleasurable elements is balanced by compositions which are probably stronger and more focused than the debut, and playing which keeps getting stronger.

Describing the Lagartija sound to the uninitiated has always been a challenge, but the simplest comparison I can make is that they sound like an Italian Paatos, except Lagartija are more instrumentally complex and with fewer pop tendencies. On their first album I wrote 'While not obviously influenced by the classic 70s Italian scene, they possess the same free spirit of experimentation those bands had in an updated, yet still richly Italian-vibed sound. There is a bit of everything here: rock, alt-lounge, smoky jazz-rock, and a bit of avant-garde. There are tons of sax and piano, Italian vocals, and dramatic artistry. One can hear some post-rock influence at times, other times the guitar can be more aggressive yet still hypnotic.' That's still a reasonable assessment aside from the fact that the guitars and sax are now more prevalent than the vocals and keyboards. Also the 'smokey jazz rock' element seems more of a 'dreamy psych-tinged fusion' and overall things are a bit heavier, probably due to Sara Aliani and Michele Molinari's really solid bass/drums backbone. There are also a few tracks which move the band in a more accessible crossover direction.

The striking and emotive cover of 'Particelle' is a telling first glimpse of music which is a bit mysterious, occasionally melancholic, but never cynical at heart. One can only imagine what the captivating young subject is feeling in this moment but it recalls in all of us that certain turbulence of youth, often thrilling but sometimes very difficult. While I don't understand the Italian lyrics the music itself feels affirmational in spirit and pulls the listener into a somewhat hypnotic, very pleasurable trip. Aliani and Molinari lock together for a solid rhythm section both stealth and up front, inventive and light on their feet. Guitarists Andrea Poggi and Marco Libe team up playing hazy parts in unified fashion, creating the wonderful atmospheres which can recall a Mazzy Star/The Doors tinged psych flavor, with occasional bursts of energy. They largely succeed in filling the shoes of the full time keyboardist. Once the stage is set the stories begin with Aliani's soothing vocals on one end and the superb lead saxophone from Christian Piga on the other. On the surface it appears that Piga's sax playing has emerged as the most prominent attribute due to the frequent and extensive soloing, but that's not really true if you're listening deeper. It's a luxurious package of sounds with every one of the players crucial to the success.....I've listened intently to what everyone is doing behind the 'lead' instrumental of a given moment, and it's true ensemble playing which suggests the band members listen to each other and enjoy working together.

This is an early review I wanted to share quickly and thus it lacks the benefit of absorbing the album over time, but after 5 or 6 spins the highlights are everywhere. 'Idiosincrasia' is an upbeat instrumental opener with crisp, nicely balanced drumming and fluid sax soloing. 'Myths' is a treat which moves with ease into crossover territory with a sensual vocal, somewhat tense and slightly saturated with just a hint of distortion. There is a poetic feel to the text and a really cool instrumental chorus part after the verse, this very catchy drop off that instantly grabs you. Nice balance of light and heavy shading. 'L'abbraccio' continues the more accessible vein with a nicely crafted song, breezy and buoyant. I love the bass and guitar playing on 'Tete', the bass is so smooth but strong in the mix, and the guitars break from their controlled tension for some quick bursts of aggression. Fabrizio Delledonne contributes the lovely piano piece 'Sbrisiu', a well timed interlude, providing a breather before the 13-minute title track which is a real centerpiece. When I first heard the title track I was driving a cold interstate freeway late at night, my daydreams lost in the mesmerizing piece which sounded incredible married to the visual outside, of car lights streaking through frosty air, blurred by the cold and darkness. (I recommend a high volume for best effect, I had my own real life music video happening during this moment, and yes, I was sober hehe...) A long rolling and moody trip with some great Italian recitations at various stages. Last, I'm not sure what they did with the mics/vocal effects on the closer 'Emilia Malinconica' but they are so clear, it sounds like Aliani is whispering in your ear. It finishes with thrashing guitars in perfect Wilco form.

Overall 'Particelle' is a solid second effort which should bring the band a wider audience, highly recommended to fans of bands like Paatos, and modern RPI bands who flirt with multi-genre components. An easy 4-star rating for me. I hope this band is together a long time as I'd love to see where they travel musically in the future.

Review by zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Lagartija are a relatively new Italian band and Particelle is their second album. Vocalist Sara Aliani also does bass duties here as well. The musicianship and singing is nice and well done but nothing really stands out. The compositions are well written and well performed but again, nothing stands out. A good sounding and consistent album that doesn't have many high points, but no real low points either. The overall sound of the group is a mix of the more melodic and accessible side of RPI with modern alternative/indie rock, particularly Radiohead, and maybe some post rock as well. "Idiosincrasia" reminds me of Radiohead. Nice sax (or is it an accordion? or a synth imitating either??). Good opening instrumental which gets more post rock sounding near the end with some sax soloing.

The distorted female vocals in "Myths" remind me of the singer from Portishead (can't remember her name). Overall a fairly easy-going and accessible song. The last minute or so which is instrumental is the best part. "L'Abbraccio" starts off with more of that Radiohead style drumming, where it sounds like a real drummer is trying to imitate a drum machine. Another easy-going and accessible track but not quite as interesting as the last song. "Tete" is a really good instrumental which sounds like a cross between Radiohead, post rock and RPI. Lots of good sax work here. "Non si puo' cambiare" is a more poppy and commercial track. The singing here (in Italian) reminds me of the singing by Ximena (in Spanish) on Omar Rodriguez- Lopez's solo albums. It ends with a baby crying. I HATE this part. I can't stand the sound of a baby crying. I'm literally that horrible of a human being.

"Sbrisiu" is a jazzy piano-only instrumental. The 13 minute title track begins with some guitar arpeggios and sax (or trumpet?). Some more post rock/Radiohead style drumming. Later goes into jazzy Italian prog. Sara's vocals here are probably the best on the whole album. A male spoken word part as the bass repeats a 6-note line. Some sax work near the end that sounds like the voice of a disturbed man echoing in the hallway of a mental institution. "Emilia Malinconica" is one of the weaker songs and is a letdown after the title track. Tremolo/vibrato guitar seems to be the only standout thing until the tempo picks up and the band rocks out at the end. Overall a decent album but don't expect anything too original or challenging. A good, consistent effort but not a lot more (or less) that I could say about it. 3 stars.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars 4.5 stars. Man I love this band ! It's that melancholy that brings ANEKDOTEN, PAATOS and other of my Swedish favourites to mind that just sucks me in. I'm not sure why the cover art does it for me but it does. As Jim notes there are some differences between this one and the debut and he explains it better than I can, but all I know is that I prefer this one more.

"Idiosincrasia" starts off perfectly just like the start of their first album. Man this sounds so good with those vocals, drums and melancholic vibe. Kicking ass 3 minutes in then it settles back some. "Myths" has a full rich sound as the vocals join in. Melancholic sax leads when the vocals stop each time until they both come in late. "L'abbraccio" has some upfront drumming as the guitar helps out. Vocals after a minute and they will come and go. Sax after 2 1/2 minutes. Man this sounds so good. "Tete" is upbeat with drums and sax outfront. Drums and guitar lead 2 minutes in then the sax returns. It settles before 3 1/2 minutes to a dark mood to end it.

"Non Si Puo Cambiare" is catchy with vocals. Thunder and rain end it as a baby cries. "Sbrisiu" has piano melodies throughout. "Particelle" opens with sadness. It starts to build around 1 1/2 minutes then the tempo picks up after 2 1/2 minutes. Vocals before 4 minutes. Male spoken words around 7 minutes in until after 8 minutes. Great sound here instrumentally and the sax joins in too. So good. "Emilia Malinconica" is very PAATOS-like with vocals. it's fuller before 2 1/2 minutes as the vocals stop and the sax joins in. The tempo picks up after 3 minutes. Nice.

I can understand now why Todd has spoken so highly of this band and album after hearing both of these brilliant recordings.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Is a mostly-mellow jazz fusion-oriented album, in no way fitting into any RPI stylings despite the band's Italian origins. Like many other reviewers and commenters, I cannot help but add my acknowledgement of the extraordinary album cover. I'm really not sure what it is about, that photo, but it is extraordinarily alluring, seductive, and beautiful--and I am not a person who is attracted to smoking or smokers in any way or form. (Quite the opposite.) The album is flawed (not always so highly engaging) but contains several jewels that make it quite a delightful surprise.

1. 'Idiosincrasia' (5:10) opens the album with an instrumental which has some interesting drumming and chord progressions. I am not much of a fan of the saxophone but for some reason the playing on this album I find listenable and even, at times, engaging and enjoyable. (8/10)

2. 'Myths' (4:57) contains a blues-based rhythm section with some heavily treated vocals, an enjoyable saxophone 'chorus,' and some occasional interesting and odd electric guitar riffs and chord progressions. (8.5/10)

3. 'L'abbraccio' (5:13) is when the album really starts getting good. The opening drum and guitars play is quite engaging and then at the one minute mark we are graced with the awesome untreated voice of singer (and bass player!) Sara Aliani singing in a higher octave than the previous song. Awesome PAUL WELLER-like 'jazz' rhythm guitar play. The vocal "o-ohhhhh-oh-ah's" in the final minute are the icing on the cake. (9/10)

4. 'Tete' (4:03) is another instrumental that begins with alto sax soloing over the lounge- jazzy rhythm section. At this point it sounds quite a bit like the French band NEMO. At 1:40 there is a drastic switch into a blues form and style with the electric guitar soloing on his lower registers. Sax returns at 2:22 to do a nice jazzy/smooth jazz solo. The final 45 seconds turn into an ominous almost heavy metal section with lead guitar performing in a slide mode. (8.5/10)

5. 'Non si puo' cambiare' (3:37) is the gem of the album, a poppy, smooth, seductive journey with the band into the emotional world of (God! She sounds like Penelope Cruz!) I love the jazzy guitar sounds (and there are several different ones employed here) and I'm a sucker for any trumpet play--especially treated trumpet. The baby crying at the end is . . . odd. (10/10)

6. 'Sbrisiu' (3:08) is an electric 'lo-fi' piano solo by non-band-member Fabrizio Delledonne(!) It is performed in a European lounge jazzy style and feel, though there are also Sakamoto/Satie-esque sensibilities to it. Quite nice (though I'm not very fond of the computer program or recording sound the engineers or player chose). (8/10)

7. 'Particelle' (13:11) is a succession of three distinct parts played one after the other. Part one lasts two and a half minutes. It is a pretty mellow late-night sax ballad. Part two switches into a mixed meter jazz piece, not unlike some of the KING CRIMSON experiments, for 75 seconds. At 3:45 the plaintive voice of Sara Aliani enters and draws our attention. Unfortunately her singing lines have to follow the chord shifts of the guitar and bass players making it sound more religious and more predictable and less engaging than it could've been. At 6:05 the song begins its shift into the final section with the 'radio' treated voice of some uncredited man speaking in Italian over the simple and repetitive bass and subtle guitar play (and, later, cymbols). At 8:05 the recorded talking stops and the band kicks into an awesomely hypnotic groove over which first saxophone and then treated trumpet solo away. Kind of PINK FLOYD and PAATOS to me. (Kudos to Michele Molinari: Awesome drum play!) (28/30)

8. 'Emilia Malinconica' (4:08) ends the album with a slow, sensitive song with Sara singing in the middle octave that we first heard her. Nice effect with the fast echo/fast reverb electric guitar strums. At 2:11 the rhythm section fills the previously spacious and a saxophone plays out a simple melody until the band kicks into heavy throbbing mode for the final minute. (8/10)

I want so badly to give this album five stars and label it as a masterpiece because its high points are so high, but, alas, there are weak spots--and several of them--so four stars is all it really deserves. It is an album I love to play over and over (and have done for over a year now). I love the singing, bass, drum, guitar and trumpet play and am quite comfortable with the saxophones, but it really is not a prog masterpiece. But I recommend this highly--it is, in my opinion, an excellent addition to any prog lover's music collection. A band I will be looking forward to future releases with great anticipation.

Latest members reviews

4 stars RPI can mean a lot and the genre offers a wide variety of musical expressions. Lagartija comes in from the cool lounge jazz scene and take a nibble at the left fringes of the RPI scene. Their music means a coctails bar, cigarettes, cool women with red lipsticks, piano, cold war spies and a big ... (read more)

Report this review (#610572) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Monday, January 16, 2012 | Review Permanlink

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