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Camelias Garden — You Have a Chance
(AltrOck Productions Fading FAD008, 2013, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2013-05-15

You Have a Chance Cover artOn their first release You Have a Chance, this new Italian trio brings forth a sound that combines the best elements of folk, classical and classic progressive rock, with brilliant songwriting and superb vocal harmonies. At the core of the band is multi-instrumentalist Valerio Smordoni, who handles lead and harmony vocals, piano, keyboards, harmonium, acoustic guitar, and bass pedals, and is the band's primary songwriter. He is joined by Manolo D'Antonio on guitars, ukulele, and backing vocals, along with Marco Avallone on bass, bass pedals, synth bass and percussion. Where is the drummer, you might ask? The folky nature of their sound doesn't require a full time drummer I suppose, but the trio is joined by a number of guest musicians playing flute, oboe, cello, violin, and yes – drums, as well as an eight-piece choir, all deployed as needed. The band's lyrics are in English, but that doesn't diminish the 'Italian feel' of their sound across these ten tracks. The folky elements may remind the astute listener of some very respectable Italian bands of the past: Errata Corrige, Celeste, early PFM, as well as some of their contemporaries like Montefeltro and Eris Pluvia. When they get into full-on symphonic prog mode, there are the unmistakable influences of Trespass through Selling England period Genesis and Acolyte era Hackett. And what about those vocal harmonies? Two reference points I hear most often are PSR&T-era Simon & Garfunkel, and perhaps the softer side of late 70s Le Orme. It's hard not to like this, there are so many elements at work here that go so magically well together. Camelias Garden is where you want to be!

Filed under: New releases, 2013 releases

Related artist(s): Camelias Garden

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