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Odissea - Odissea CD (album) cover




Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.48 | 43 ratings

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4 stars Formed in the Biella area, Odissea were an Italian pop/rock band who were able to boast supporting in concert not only legendary British symphonic proggers Genesis (quite a big influence here in parts), but Banco del Mutuo Soccorso and Rocky's Filj from their own country. Odissea fell victim to the one-and-done album curse that befell many prog-related acts from Italy of the early Seventies, but what a prettily little unpolished gem their album remains. The tune itself was always the priority on their sole self-titled LP from 1973, presented with charismatic vocals, but the tracks all reveal ambitious, rich and energetic instrumental backings full of flair and imagination.

`Unione' opens with low-key and fragile folk-flavoured acoustics before being blasted with ragged electric guitars and light smatterings of keyboard fancy. Roberto Zola's voice holds a raspy croon, and the song lets rip with a nice up-tempo instrumental sprint in the middle that gently reminds of Genesis. `Giochi Nuovi Carte Nuove' is dreamy with a chest-beating vocal, but instrumental `Crisalide' is a true symphonic stunner. Flecked with baroque and medieval flavours, it manages to work in purring bass, dancing organs and glistening synth veils, as well as gorgeous interplay between reflective acoustic and frantic electric guitar passages across a range of tempos. Side closer `Cuor di Rubino' is then a jangling acoustic ditty of great dignity with nicely weeping slide guitar-like wisps and joyful keys.

There's a fuzzy edge to all of the instrumentation on the b-side's `Domanda' that ensures it always retains a dreaminess, even as the piece alternates between sparkling and drowsy, with a grandly symphonic lift rising to life in the middle that is especially beautiful. `Il Risveglio di un Mattino' constantly reminds of Genesis, even more so due to Roberto's Peter Gabriel-like croak here, and `Voci's ghostly keys, Mellotron creepiness and spectral 12-string ringing guitars all bristle with symphonic mystery. `Conti e Numeri' is a final intimate closer of chiming guitars and trickles of organ, but watch out for the call-to-arms attack driven by rumbling bass, nimble-fingered guitar strains and rambunctious drumming!

With the band essentially splintering upon singer Zola departing in 1974, all we have left is this underrated vintage Italian curio, and it's one that classic era Genesis fans (so long as they don't mind that it's performed in Italian) would likely easily embrace with affection if more of them heard it. Despite being predominantly song driven, the LP still crucially holds that rougher grit so integral to the best Italian progressive works, and while `Odissea' is not a total obscurity, and nor is it an expensive rarity these days, it's certainly never talked about in the upper tier of adventurous Italian rock discs from the Seventies. Perhaps it might be time to change that...

Three and a half stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |


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