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CAMELIAS GARDEN

Prog Folk • Italy


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Camelias Garden biography
CAMELIAS GARDEN began as a solo project for Valerio Smordoni, who added Manolo D'Antonio and Marco Avallone to product the band's first studio release 'You Have a Chance' in 2013. The band's sound is built on an acoustic base of timeless folk instrumentation infused with a clean, modern vibe.

>> Bio by Bob Moore (aka ClemofNazareth) <<

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3.73 | 66 ratings
You Have a Chance
2013

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CAMELIAS GARDEN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 You Have a Chance by CAMELIAS GARDEN album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.73 | 66 ratings

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You Have a Chance
Camelias Garden Prog Folk

Review by andrea
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Camelias Garden come from Rome and began life in 2011 on the initiative of multi-instrumentalist and composer Valerio Smordoni. In 2013 they released a début album on the independent label Altr0ck/Fading Records, You Have A Chance, with a line up featuring Valerio Smordoni (vocals, MiniMoog, keyboards, piano, Harmonium, acoustic guitar, Tambourine, Taurus Pedal), Manolo D'Antonio (acoustic and electric guitar, classical guitar, ukulele, backing vocals and Marco Avallone (bass, percussions) plus some guests such as Francesco Favilli (drums, percussions), Carlo Enrico Macalli (flute), Andrea Bergamelli (cello), Eliseo Smordoni (bassoon) and Giovanni Vigliar (violin). Their influences range from pastoral, symphonic prog to modern folk and West Coast echoes, from Genesis and Camel to Fleet Foxes and Midlake. The artwork in some way describes the content of the album, a colourful musical watercolour dealing with the dreams and hopes of childhood.

The opener "Some Stories" is a dreamy, melancholic ballad based upon guitar and piano while violin and flute embroider delicate melodies all around the soaring vocals. It conjures up a sense of nostalgia for a lost innocence and leads to the beautiful mini suite "Dance of The Sun / The Remark / Dance of The Sun (Birth of The Light)" where dark and light colours are used to paint a strange musical tableau about the circle of life and a spiritual rebirth.

The music of the delicate, folksy "The Withered Throne" reminds me of tin men riding nameless horses through sunny deserts while the lyrics depict the end of a wondrous love story with its legacy of broken hopes and wasted flowers. The following "We All Stand In Our Broken Jars" is an instrumental piece that starts softly with a strummed acoustic guitar pattern and riches its climax with a nice finale in crescendo with vintage keyboards in the forefront.

Next comes "A Safe Haven" a dreamy instrumental track for piano solo that leads to the light "Knight's Vow" that depicts the vows of an immature child who spends his time waiting for his dreams to come true by dreaming all day long. Then comes the acoustic "Clumsy Grace" that features some nice soaring harmony vocals and portrays the shy feelings of a little boy who falls in love with the immature beauty of a little girl.

The long, complex "Mellow Days" recalls Genesis and evokes cold winter days passed waiting for better times, rainbows in the sky and songs by the sea. The following "'Til The Morning Came" starts with vocals a cappella, then acoustic guitar and vocals draw flowing hopes escaping from a broken jar and a stream of growing thoughts. It leads to a reprise of the first track of the album that closes the circle. It's time to wake up... "Now boy, stop to chase the wind / Your life flows / You're hidden between the stories of someone across the stars / Some days you're fighting the evil / Some days you're begging a chance beyond the galaxies far away...". Well, on the whole I think that this is a good album, although it didn't really strike a chord on me, but I'm sure that this band will do better in the future.

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 You Have a Chance by CAMELIAS GARDEN album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.73 | 66 ratings

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You Have a Chance
Camelias Garden Prog Folk

Review by BrufordFreak

3 stars This album reminds me of a HARRY NILSSON album with some vocal tendencies toward IAN ANDERSON. While the band uses some instruments typical to progworld (synthesizers, mellotron, organ and woodwinds), I don't find much to warrant this as prog (the STYX-like 'Dance of The Sun, The Remark, Birth of The Light' (6:16) (8/10) being the exception). And even the 'folk' element is rather slippery--the 'Some Stories' bookends, 'Clumsy Grace' and, maybe, ''til The Morning Came' might qualify. The proggiest parts of this album, outside of the above mentioned 'Dance',' occur in parts of the instrumental song, 'We All Stand in Our Broken Jars' (5:33) (8/10), and the brief symphonic part of the pleasant piano solo song, 'A Safe Haven' (3:40) (8/10), the synthesizer in 'Knight's Wow' (4:00) (7/10), and, of course, the GENESIS passage in the second half of 'Mellow Days' (9:39) (8/10). The vocals--and their harmonies--are unremarkable except for their similarity to Harry Nilsson. The acoustic guitars (and ukelele) play is quite monotonous and repetitive. The album is, however, well recorded and well engineered and has a nice packaging product. However, I find too little here to satisfy my prog sensibilities.

3.5 stars rated down for lack of originality and lack of true progginess.

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 You Have a Chance by CAMELIAS GARDEN album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.73 | 66 ratings

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You Have a Chance
Camelias Garden Prog Folk

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars Now come on, music like this just doesn't get released these days. It's 2013! Didn't anyone check the calendar? Imagine Cat Stevens mixed with early Genesis, Yes, Al Stewart and possibly just a little Gentle Giant and you may get somewhere close to understanding what this wonderful album is like. It is a summery burst of sunshine, where it is all about great music and plenty of acoustic guitars with swathes of keyboards to boot. It is fragile yet strong, modern yet extremely vintage and the result is something that is like a breath of fresh air to these poor abused ears of mine.

This Italian trio is led by Valerio Smordoni (lead and backing vocals, MiniMoog, keyboards, piano, harmonium, acoustic guitar, tambourine and Taurus Pedals) and he is joined by Manolo D'Antonio (acoustic and 12-string guitar, electric guitar, classical guitar, ukulele and backing vocals) and Marco Avallone (bass, synth bass, Taurus Pedals and percussions) plus a few guests to provide some additional timbres. It really is a thing of beauty, and I only hope that we are going to be hearing a great deal more from them as this progressive/folk debut is a delight. Visit their bandcamp site to get this for just ?7. cameliasgarden.bandcamp.com

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 You Have a Chance by CAMELIAS GARDEN album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.73 | 66 ratings

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You Have a Chance
Camelias Garden Prog Folk

Review by ProgShine
Collaborator Errors & Omissions and Crossover Team

5 stars If you ever wonder what happened to Prog Folk, Camelias Garden, this new Italian band, is your answer!

Camelias Garden and their debut album, You Have A Chance (2013), is an amazing blending of Prog Folk, wonderful and well-crafted pop melodies and the old and good Symphonic Italian Progressive Rock. You can also find a tiny bit of Post Rock in a couple of tracks. Camelias Garden were able to pick up all their influences, like Premiata Forneria Marconi in their first album, Storia Di Un Minuto (1972), and made it up-to-date, refreshing and meaningful.

Formed in Rome in 2011 by Valerio Smordoni (vocals, keyboards and guitars) as a one man project, Camelias Garden slowly evolved into a full band with the addition of Manolo D'Antonio (acoustic and electric guitars and vocals), Marco Avallone (baixo) and Walter Palombi (drums and percussion). In You Have A Chance (2013) they also had the helping hand of Francesco Favilli (drums and percussion), Carlo Enrico Macalli (flute), Andrea Bergamelli (cello), Eliseo Smordoni (bassoon) and Giovanni Vigliar (violin).

As soon as the first track 'Some Stories' kicked in I was in love, right away. Camelias Garden sound is melancholic, beautiful, soft, and full of emotion. The second track 'Dance Of The Sun/The Remark/Dance Of The Sun (Birth Of The Light)' is completely 70's Italian Prog without being a copy.

In fact, it is quite incredible how the band managed to fill their songs with acoustic guitars driven music, full of good pop melodies, and at the same time fill everything with superb synthesizers and keyboards and occasional distorted guitars. That's what they did magnificently in 'The Withered Throne' and 'We All Stand In Our Broken Jars'.

'A Safe Heaven' is a beautiful piano piece while 'Knight's Vow' is pure good Pop. 'Clumsy Grace' reminded me of some Jeff Buckley moments, which is wonderful. Prog Folk including flutes and mellotron on 'Mellow Days', which is the longest track on the album with nine minutes and a half. An amazing Track. To close the album there is 'Till The Morning Came' with a wonderful choir intro and 'Some Stories (Reprise)', closing the cycle perfectly.

You Have A Chance (2013) is something astonishing that came completely without a warning. An amazing piece of superb music that should be listened to with your mind clear and your ears wide open. Can't forget to mention the beautiful artwork by Hanna Mosley and Chiara Mastrantonio.

Resuming, Camelias Garden recorded a flawless debut album!

(Originally posted on progshine.net)

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