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Le Orme - Venerd́ CD (album) cover


Le Orme


Rock Progressivo Italiano

1.76 | 48 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
1 stars The title of (Le) Orme's 1982 pop sellout album doesn't translate to English as "Love Beach", but it's close enough. The ace Italian proggers obviously weren't the only musical group caught in a lemming-like rush toward commercial suicide at the start of the decade. But not many bands made the same leap so blindly, or hit the ground with such an immediate thud.

For most Progressive Rockers the transition was gradual, and spread out over several albums. Orme achieved the same inglorious results in the first notes of a single song. The melodic tuned percussion at the start of the album opener "Biancaneve" sounded promising, but when drummer Michi Dei Rossi slammed into that big '80s down-beat it was like a drain plug being suddenly pulled, sucking one of the most distinctive ensembles in the entire Italian Progressive Rock pantheon down into a cheap mercantile sewer.

That song title can be rendered in English as "Snow White", which may or may not refer to the animated fable of the same name. If so, the music definitely resembles the Disney princess as she appeared after biting the poisoned apple: comatose in a shiny glass coffin. And the rest of the album was likewise arranged like flower petals and silken bedding around the corpse of an RPI legend.

A belated knee-jerk reaction from an unreformed Prog Snob? Well, not entirely. The album wouldn't have sounded quite so mercenary if the songwriting had any merit. But when the group lost their ambition they also misplaced all their melodic hooks, along with every shred of musical taste and sensitivity. Earlier, lightweight Prog-Pop efforts like "Smogmagica" at least had genuine character, and legitimate Italian flavor. Unlike the strictly derivative, totally anonymous pop collected here.

Part of the blame can be assigned to producer Roberto Colombo, recently of PFM and an eclectic jazz-rocker in his spare time. Otherwise lovely songs like "Rubacuori" might have been salvaged by more sympathetic handling, but sledgehammers and gelignite were the studio tools of choice at the time. The album's only saving grace is the familiar lilt of Aldo Tagliapietra's singing, conspicuously out of place in such an artificial setting.

The band's name, as any fan can tell you, means something like "Footsteps". But where the Orme style was previously light on its toes, here it affected a shallow plod leaving no imprint whatsoever, all the more disappointing after the delicate neo-classical refinement of "Florian" and "Piccola Rapsodia Dell'Ape". Sadder yet: even worse was yet to come...

(Consumer Warning: the album was so bad it had to be released again, thirteen years later, so that fans could enjoy the privilege of avoiding it a second time. The name of the band was restored to its original 'Le' Orme, but the music was the same mechanical synth-pop, simply re-packaged and re-named after the album's opening track)

Neu!mann | 1/5 |


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