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Men Of Lake - Music From The Land Of Mountains, Lake And Wine  CD (album) cover


Men Of Lake

Eclectic Prog

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3 stars Definitely an offbeat blend of influences here: proto-prog, some symphonic prog, jazziness and folk. Apart from the fact that they sing in English with a rather strong Italian accent, they don't sound especially Italian. The British proto-prog sound of bands like Spring, Cressida and Fantasy were a big influence here, alongside the usual Anglo-Sympho of Genesis and the like. There's also a slick jazziness about much of this that makes me think that perhaps Steely Dan were also an influence. You won't find blazing fusion complexity here, though, melodicism is their strong suit. It's all rather mellow and laid-back and won't appeal to everyone. But it's rather charming in its unassuming nature. If it's a humble, tuneful prog album you want, you've found it.

Keys seem to largely be made up of organ and piano. Lots of acoustic guitar, giving this a very folky feel at times. Guest players on woodwinds and horns add a classical touch.

Report this review (#47260)
Posted Monday, September 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Another masterpiece from the 90's. I consider them one of the best Italian bands from the 90's (if not the best). In this album you find an splendid brass section including trumpet, flute, etc.

Here you find "Canterbury" and "jazz" elements. I consider a great step forward, at least for the innovation in their music. They have a great sense for melody and they sound raw as 70's prog bands. Fantastic. Their music is mellow and dreamy. Imagine you driving your car in a mountain up to the sky with their music. It fits perfectly.

If you like "King crimson", "Van der graaf generator" and "Caravan", this album is for you. "Maurizio Poli" reminds me of "Jesús de la Rosa" from "Triana" as a great and humble leader.

Report this review (#59012)
Posted Saturday, December 3, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars I recently bought this album. There are links with canterbury music, ok. They are some intelligent orchestration sometimes. BUT what i don't understand why some caravan-esque themes are lost into typical 80's POP MUSIC. The singer is poor and sing with a loud an unconvinced voice during typical uninspired pop structures. This melting pot of two antagonist influences doesn't work (80's pop and weak canterbury-esque orchestrations). It is uncomparable to real bands like Il Castello Di Atlante. A lot of place is attributed to the guitarist during un emotive guitar solos. MY ADVICE : listen to this before buying it! The comparisons with VDGG and KC are unapropriated. WEAK ALBUM !
Report this review (#120067)
Posted Saturday, April 28, 2007 | Review Permalink
Prog-Folk Team
3 stars Men of Lake altered their style quite dramatically for this release, which appears to have been their swan song. The main change, at least on the surface, is the reduced importance of the organ and the general lack of that big Hammond sound, in favour of electric guitar. It's hard to say what they sound like here, but the name Dire Straits keeps coming back. Please think of that only as a starting point, but at times the band adopts a laid back vocal and guitar style, and a slightly jazzy feel that is reminiscent of that British band. This is especially so on some of the better tracks here, like "Nothing at All", "Words in the Rain", "Sailor's Way" and "Lady Day Dream". At times the guitars are also in the style of Andy Latimer from Camel, especially in the break on "Sailor's Way".

I am tempted to reward an extra star for the band's willingness to evolve, but Men of Lake continues to be plagued by some degree of inconsistency, so that there are just too many lesser tracks and segments to justify an excellent rating, even if certain songs and many moments would be worthy. One problem is that, on too many of the best songs, they abandon the mellow mood midway through in a way that is somewhat lacking in subtlety and evolution. In all, "Music from the Land of..." is a good album that shows Men of Lake going out on a high note, even if not with their "signature" sound. It definitely keeps the band's reputation afloat.

Report this review (#168862)
Posted Sunday, April 27, 2008 | Review Permalink

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