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D.F.A. - 4th CD (album) cover

4TH

D.F.A.

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.20 | 82 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars Third studio album from this Verona quartet with an unchanged line-up, although their lengthy silence had us fearing the worst as it had been almost mime years since Duty Free Area. Aside from some erratic festival appearance and a Live album dating from '02, the only thing we had was their new label Moonjune re-issuing in '07 their first two album in a compilation with bonus live tracks, but it left us clueless as to their adventures. Rest assured in the spring of '08 cane out their fourth album (in all) with a rather ugly squared off artwork, but the music was anything but worrisome, because the main songwriters remain drummer De Grandis and keyboardist Bonomi.

Indeed, musically DFA is still sounding quite the same as they did in their first two album, developing a symphonic jazz-rock somewhere between Canterbury (I am thinking of the US group Volaré) and Gentle Giant, and the opening Baltasaurus fits exactly that description. After the much gentler (if you'll except the crunchy riff guitar) almost 8-mins Flying Trip, Standing out a bit, the almost 7-mins Vietato Generalizzare is more in the ELP or Egg mode, even though there is plenty of guitars, but the organ fireworks is more reminiscent of early Emerson or early Dave Stewart. The obvious centrepiece' of this album is the 19 minutes Mosoq Runa, which was long in to finalize as its writing dates back from '04, but it's obvious that keyboardist Bonomi is a slow worker in these matters, but his results are outstanding. This is a piano (ac or el) gargantuan feast (as well as other KBs) with the odd flute bit that never stops dazzling and the added string arrangements (just a cello and a violin) bring it even more to notice.

The last two tracks are sung, the first by drummer De Grandis and in English, but it comes down to one verse at the start of the 10 minutes of The Mirror, so soft you don't really realize it. The track is mostly an improvisation in its second part, disappearing into a drum solo. The closing track is quite different, Ballate starting on some Hackettian guitar lines, before triple female folk & classical (polyphony) vocals and string arrangements. It is a bit "hors-propos" from the usual DFA, and I'm glad they left it out until last on this album, so it doesn't disturb the album's smooth flow of the other tracks. Well almost nine years after Duty Free Area, 4th is much in the same, probably a tad better. DFA is probably my fave Italian band from the 90's and 00's and is consistently at the top, even if there was a quiet period.

Sean Trane | 4/5 |

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