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Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM) - Per Un Amico CD (album) cover


Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)


Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.40 | 1696 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars A truely beautiful album, 'Per Un Amico' pretty much stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the best of the British prog albums, rivalling the likes of 'Close To The Edge' by Yes, King Crimson's debut and Genesis's 'Nursery Cryme' for sheer scope and innovation. Premiata Forneria Marconi(a.k.a. PFM) were one of Italy's top progressive acts during the early seventies. The nation of pasta and Roberto Baggio produced a number of exciting groups back then, and the country had a strong prog-rock scene, with PFM probably the most internationally recognised thanks to a deal with Emerson, Lake & Palmer's management company Manticore Records. The deal gave the group the exposure they needed, they stopped Singing in Italian and success followed across the globe. PFM were a bit hit in Japan, enjoyed several successful US tours and had a strong-and-loyal fambase throughout Western Europe Released in 1972 - a golden year for Prog - 'Per Un Amico' remains PFM's defining musical statement and their finest to album to date, coming as it does from the clutch of three-or-four beautifully-wrought Italian language albums that makes up the beginning of their 35-year-plus long discography. Many critics agree that PFM are as valuable to the history of prog as their British cousins despite their relative anonimity amongst the rest of the classic rock spectrum. For some, the idea of Italian lyrics is a turn-off, with the argument for this some being that music without the weight of the meaning of the words is surely no way to understand the artistic statement being made. For others, the actual sounds and melodies are what it's really all about, and the words are an extra, the cherry on top of the cake. The strength of PFM's music transcends this argument. The music is precise, symphonic and highly-organic, a flowing plethora of deliberately lush sounds that flows and then peaks into moments of spine-tingling sonic wonder. There is no way to know what the lyrics mean if you don't speak the language, but in actual fact it doesn't matter. The style and language of the vocals fits perfectly with the music, and the idea of forcing the words into English feels like a wrong move somehow. As for the musicagain, 'Per Un Amico' starts slowly and blooms carefully and delicately into moments of lush beauty. Occasionally the serene harmonics are interrupted by a stirring gallup, as in the jazz-rock of 'Generale!', which features thundering bass and clattering drums, but the bulk of the rather brief 35-minute running time is taken up by more mellow sounds. The album does hint towards an almost neo-Genesis sound, with folk-and-classical trimmings adorning the group's bucolic candour and warm acoustic glow, but PFM do very much have a uniquely warm style of their own. Once you, the listener, is past the language barrier, the superb Progressive Rock of PFM's 'Per Un Amico' will hit you just like Pink Floyd or Van Der Graaf Generator did when you first realised you loved them. The music rarely repeats itself, sticking to the idea of experimenting with shape and - first true ideology of prog-rock - yet is also hummable and catchy. However, what is most striking about PFM is just how beautiful the music is. Lush and ethereal, 'Per Un Amico' is the perfect introduction to both this great band and the extraordinary sounds of European Progressive Rock. STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2010

Post this deal, the group sang in English, and produced a couple of excellent albums, including the majestic 'Chocolate Kings'. However, 'Per Un Amico' was written-and-produced when the four-strong group were still a national act, with all the lyrics sung in beautiful Italian; it proved to be their breakthrough.

stefro | 5/5 |


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