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Franco Battiato - Fetus CD (album) cover


Franco Battiato


Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.43 | 69 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
4 stars FRANCO BATTIATO is known as one of the most popular pop singer / songwriters in all of Italian musical history having covered everything from new wave, new age and beat as well as venturing into other arenas such as free jazz and musique concrète, however his origins were much more rooted in the world of experimental electronic music and in the early 70s began releasing his own albums which fall into the world of progressive rock beginning with his debut album FETUS. This album was released in both Italian and English and is a concept album about the development of, yep, you guessed it? a gestating FETUS! It does however seem that the tracks are moved around depending which album you are experiencing. Personally i ALWAYS prefer Italian bands to sing in their native language because not only does it sound more natural and less stilted but the Italian language was created to sound friggin great and especially beautiful on more complex progressive pieces where the operatic vocals soar like eagles.

By the time BATTIATO got to recording his debut release he had already become quite the sensational songwriter and it's quite clear even from this early experimental stage of his career how he was able to carry on into becoming a pop sensation in his native land. FETUS is the perfect balance between catchy hooks in mostly a rock and folk styles accompanied by lots of electronic effects and progressive touches that make FETUS a true pleasure to experience. Laced with classical music as blatantly heard on "Meccanica," FETUS takes extremely strong melodies and contorts them into bizarre electronic coated rhythmic dances that meander from folk guitar passages to organ fuzzed out psychedelic frenzies. BATTIATO's vocals are quite powerful as are the brilliant arrangement that juggle dynamics, tempos and genre characteristics like a top performer at a Cirque du Soleil show. While the time run is a mere half hour, each track packs a punch with a wealth of ideas and changes crammed into every nook and cranny.

While i haven't experienced the English version, i can tell by the music that the theme that begins with a human heartbeat continues to evolve much like a gestating human in the womb as the tracks add more layers of content although are fairly short in duration. FETUS comes across as a typical Italian progressive rock album of the era with pastoral passages trading off with more bombastic ones along with BATTIATO's vocal bravado in full operatic style in the forefront. While there are plenty of experimental touches, they take a backseat to the strong melodic developments and only exist to enhance the overall song structures, not impede them. FRANCO BATTIATO created his first gem with his debut FETUS and despite appearing on the tripper's guide to psych, the Nurse With Wound List, FETUS is actually a very accessible album for the pop sensibilities are already quite developed in BATTIATO's early stages. In fact i would probably consider this progressive pop rock more than anything but labels matter not to me when music is this beautifully sublime.

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |


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