Exposé Online banner

Art and Illusion — Seasons
(Mellow MMP 283, 1995, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 1997-02-01

Seasons Cover art

When I first broke the seal on this disc and saw the booklet photos with people playing accordions, mandolins, and balalaikas, my curiosity was piqued, hoping for some kind of folk-rock ensemble or such. In fact Art and Illusion is an Italian four-piece pop / rock / prog band which uses such instruments to a minor degree, but on most occasions sticks to the standard guitars, bass, synthesizers and drums as the meat and potatoes of their sound, with guitarist Luca Sabia capably handling the lead vocals. The compositions have a strong pop sensibility, with enough twists and turns and clever arrangements to keep them interesting. The band has an exceptional ability to shift gracefully from gentle introspective phrases into out-and-out rocking force. But A&I is neither neo-prog, nor a 70s AOR throwback; their style is very 90s, in many ways like some other prog-pop bands that have spring up in the last year or so like Germany's Tea in the Sahara and Sweden's Ritual. Lyrics are in English, and Sabia handles them much better than most, while delivering some excellent guitar based song structures, like on the Led Zep influenced "Springtime Again." Barbara Martini tastefully applies the supportive synth colorations, piano, Hammond, and harmonium without dominating the bands' sound. There are plenty of memorable tunes here, plus a rather modern sounding cover of the Genesis classic "I Know What I Like." A strong debut from a band with a future.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 11, 1995 releases

Related artist(s): Art and Illusion

Latest news

2018-07-31
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more

2018-07-09
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more

2018-07-01
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more

2018-06-25
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more

2018-06-13
Jon Hiseman RIP – One of the great drummers of the rock era has died. Jon Hiseman was a veteran of such ground-breaking groups as Colosseum (I and II), Tempest, John Mayal's Bleusbreakers, and was a founding member of the innovative large band United Jazz + Rock Ensemble. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Ajalon - On the Threshold of Eternity – Randy George (who may be more widely known due to his recent work with Neal Morse) is the leader of Seattle-based Ajalon. Vocalist Will Henderson is also an important focal point for this progressive...  (2005) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues