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Libra - Musica e parole CD (album) cover




Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.57 | 32 ratings

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3 stars I'm not quite sure what to make of this one. Libra's debut album has moments of brilliance, and times when I just want to turn it off. Is Musica e Parole a classic of the middle period ('74-'75), or better left forgotten? Every time I listen to it I end up somewhere in the middle, and that's exactly where this album ranks. Musica e Parole, with its strange blend of soft prog, R&B and arena rock never really finds itself and ends up just being average. This is a major disappointment, considering the talent on hand: Guitarist Nicola Di Staso and singer Frederico D'Andrea both came from Logan Dwight, keyboardist Sandro Centofani was in Buon Vecchio Charlie, and drummer David Walter and bassist Dino Cappa formed a solid rhythm section. But unfortunately, a band that looks good on paper never really gelled and ultimately folded after the next album. Ironically, the group would release their best album in name only - a reformed Libra, with the soundtrack to Schock in 1977.

The potential for Libra to succeed was clear, as the group secured a ten-album deal with Motown that was later rescinded. The Motown influence (pressure?) was immediate, and a funky soul-inspired tone permeates much of Musica e Parole. Were it not for the jazzy, fusion-style playing of Sandro Centofani I could completely discount this album as progressive at all. The long "Inquinamento" is really the only impressive moment on the entire disc, yet somehow the preceding 30 minutes are just compelling enough to hold your interest. "Nato Oggi'" kicks things off, fading in slowly and offering some real promise. The song begins sounding like Ibis and ends up sounding like PFM circa Chocolate Kings. The medley "Il Tempo E' Un Buon Amico/Forse E' Furia" covers ground that would later be perfected by the likes of Supertramp and Harmonium. The long suite is essentially an extended jam, intended primarily to showcase the talent of Nico Di Staso. His guitar playing is nondescript yet showy; Di Staso's acoustic guitar touch is far more effective, and used sparingly to good effect.

"Beyond the Fence" sounds like a cheesy Average White Band imitation and goes on far too long. The superior title track luckily saves the proceedings. "Musica e Parole" is perhaps the most representative song on the album, so if you don't like it then you probably won't like the rest. Featuring a likable piano part and even some unexpected time-signature changes, the song could very well have cracked the US charts had it been released as a single. The slow-starting "Pegno D'Amore" shows some fusion influences before careening into poppier fare. Finally, we reach "Inquinamento" and the best music herein. "Inquinamento" is a dazzling instrumental, reminiscent of Latte e Miele's "Pavana" or even Apoteosi's song of the same name. This 14-minute wonder saves the album from miring in completist-only status, and makes it easier to recommend (if only for collectors).

coasterzombie | 3/5 |


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