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Le Orme - Smogmagica CD (album) cover


Le Orme


Rock Progressivo Italiano

2.85 | 127 ratings

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3 stars A second major departure for LE ORME in as many albums, "Smogmagica" sees the addition of a full time, if temporary, guitarist Tolo Marton, who not only provides the group with its first guitar oriented album, but also with vocals here and there to offset those of Mr Tagliapietra. For many, merely introducing guitar as a major instrument to the Le Orme sound constituted blasphemy of the highest order, but add in the clear influence of America and the Los Angeles recording environs and you can pretty much write this one off in the eyes of the prog public both then and now.

Yet this is a vast improvement over the vapid "Contrappunti". It is true that some vestiges of the dead end compositions of that album remain, particularly in the dreary "Laserium Floyd", possibly engendered by the popular laser light shows that made planetariums the cool places for teenagers during the 19mid 70s. And the closer "Laurel Canyon" is an ersatz mid 1970s blues-rock instrumental reminiscent of FLEETWOOD MAC in all the wrong ways. But "Los Angeles" breathes a firestorm of new life into a group seeking a credible new sound, a workable mix of Marton's licks and the old Le Orme sound circa Uomo. "Amico di Ieri" and "Immensa distesa" are both gorgeous wistful ballads also very much in the prior style.

A decidedly pop prog vein is mined in two quirky songs, "Ora o mai pił" and "Amanti Di Cittą", which sound ahead of their time, reminding me of some of FRANCO BATTIATO's 1980s work. Granted, this might not be the fodder for progarchives listeners, but they nonetheless exhibit a good deal more imagination than most of their English progenitors at this stage, not to mention rather catchy melodies.

For those who enjoy successful transitions to a more accessible style by prog bands, "Smogmagica" remains a breath of fresh air to this day.

kenethlevine | 3/5 |


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