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Quella Vecchia Locanda - Quella Vecchia Locanda CD (album) cover


Quella Vecchia Locanda


Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.14 | 347 ratings

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4 stars A good prelude for what would follow

From the first sound of Donald Lax's marvelous violin which opens "Prologo" you know that the QVL sound is unique. They are one of the most distinct and important bands from the classic Italian scene. Mixing rock with a classical or jazzy sound and incorporating flute, violin, guitar, and keys with a tightly wound "Fragile" style rhythm sound. Add to that very good Italian vocals and lots of mood changes and you have the right ingredients for a great debut. Some think there is a Tull comparison here but it is only fleeting to me-QVL sounds like no one else. These songs have the punchy quality that PFM sometimes has and maintains the sound quality level.

Lax now lives in Hawaii and is still performing. While recalling his time in QVL very fondly, in a 2004 interview he sadly reports that the band never made a cent from the albums, were treated poorly, and were not even informed of the reissues. He says he had to go on the Internet and pay for his own music just to get a copy!

"Un Villaggio, Un Illusione" does sound a bit Tullish when the flute kicks in albeit with mad violin the comparison is only partially worthwhile. It is Lax's marvelous playing that steals the show here, without it this track is basically a grooving rocker.

"Realta" begins softly with acoustic guitar before the warm vocals usher in a nice melody. This track sounds very PFM with piano, flute and percussion all very good. This has to be one of the most perfect examples of the beautiful Italian sound.

"Immagini Sfocate" sounds quite experimental at first but devolves into a guitar rocker with some great drumming at the end and a nice guitar solo. The lead guitars on this album have a unique sounding distortion to them, quite dry.

"Il Cieco" and "Dialogo" both have some nice moments but with less of the magic of the other tracks. "Verso la Locanda" is better than the previous two but again I sense some lack of direction in the overall song.

"Sogno, Risveglio" may be the highlight of the album and I think it hints at the potential that this band would realize on their masterpiece two years later. Gorgeous pastoral moments mingle with occasionally edgy violins and an unsettled piano that keeps trying to rock the boat. But they come together at the end for a lovely closing.

Both QVL albums are a must for anyone interested in putting together even a modest Italian collection. This debut is more accessible at first and more instantly likable but their follow-up is the real thing, even if it takes longer to appreciate.

The Japanese mini-lp sleeve is another gatefold that shows off the beautiful cover art that I never get bored with. The remastered sound is excellent for the time period. 3 stars.

Finnforest | 4/5 |


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