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Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM) - The World Became the World CD (album) cover


Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)


Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.02 | 382 ratings

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4 stars Get into Italian Prog Now!!!

A prog album which is surely a must for anyone who likes prog - there is something for everyone, and no disappointments. However, this is not a masterpiece and will not necessarily keep you coming back for more - unless it "crumbles your cookie". That said, this is not an album that will gather dust either, as, possibly vocals apart, it is a pleasure to listen to every time, holding on to just enough to keep the listener interested.

The 2-minute choral opening to "The Mountain" is atmospheric enough, and sets the right kind of prog pretensions to let you know you're in for some prog with a liberal dash of the classics, but more importantly, it provides a more than serviceable springboard into the sumptuous prog riffs that follow. If you listen to the choral section closely, it comprises largely unison movement interspersed with rare 3rds, and extreme soft/loud dynamics in a rather ham-fisted manner - but that doesn't matter, as it is not the focal point of the music, more a light starter to whet the appetite.

There are a few grumbles which should be noted; in the big ensembles, the drums are sacrificed in the mix, and the vocals seem rough and unnecessarily harsh - the latter only being partly the fault of the mix.

On the flip side of the same coin, when PFM get into a groove, the result is sublime, broad- grin prog which reminds me of Camel in its ability to transport you - although not in sound; the sound seems to draw from Yes, King Crimson and Genesis, especially with the mellotron washes combined with acoustic guitar (yum!). The delightful flute and percussive additions to the "floaty" sections are pure, dreamy bliss, and PFM seem to specialise in making smooth transitions between these and the harder riffs - although there are a couple of heart-stopping drop-ins and fade-outs, notably around 7:30 after the 1st choral reprise. The second fares better, and there is a wonderful section of acoustic guitar topped with soaring electric lead, proudly showing off the Italian's uncanny ear for a good melody in an uncharacteristically understated way.

"Just Look Away" puts me a little in mind of "Grantchester Meadows" in flavour, but there's much more too it than that! A lovely little folksy-style song with intriguing keyboard parts and sensitive vocals (and cheesey vocals) that develops into a bold, yet soft prog statement. I particularly like the violin and flute parts.

The title track is a kind of Moody Blues/Barclay James Harvest meet COTCK King Crimson style piece.

Beginning with a percussion loop that sounds suspiciously like the intro to "Money", "Four Holes in the Ground" (well, well, well, well...) launches into a Romany-sounding fiddle-jig. Yes, you get VFM with PFM! er... I digress ;0)

Imagine an Ian Anderson flavoured flute over a Chris Squire bass, if you will. Now add a dash or two of imagination and Italian melifluousness and a generous helping of prog. Stir well and you have "Four Holes in the Ground", a piece that seems to make itself up as it goes along - but in style! Some Yes-style harmonies later, some fluid cat-on-a-hot-tin-roof style jumping and PFM are clearly gunning for the prog Premier league. Superb stuff!

"Is my face on Straight" is probably a good question, as I kept grinning whilst listening to this track - it just gets better. The bass lines fly away, reminding me of Pete Trewavas on amphetamines, and I simply don't want to describe the music here, leaving it as a reward for the listener who makes the right choice and buys this album. Trust me - you'll love it!

"Have Your Cake and Beat it" is probably one of the best titles of a prog track from this era, although the bass bluff at the beginning seems out of place and feels a little directionless - especially when the light instrumentation joins it. However, it does calm down quickly and becomes a part of the team again - and how! A rolling, gorgeous funky section, kind of like Yes but with more feeling and less tangents drives through lighter jazzy terrain, reminiscent of the Mahavishnu Orchestra without John McClaughlin's terminal noodling. The overall ensemble is utterly fabulous, and in a kind of Focus vein - the best is left for last!

Those last three tracks could have pushed this album into masterpiece territory, yet there's something overall that's slightly lacking. This album is superb - a wonderful slice of prog, but yet I would not return to it as often as I would to other albums. It's an essential part of my collection now that I have it - and I would recommend you make it part of yours!!


Certif1ed | 4/5 |


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