Consorzio Acqua Potabile with Alvaro Fella — Coraggio e Mistero
(Black Widow BWR 196, 2016, CD/LP)
by Henry Schneider, Published 2017-07-05
Consorzio Acqua Potabile (CAP) is an Italian progressive band that formed in the 70s, eventually releasing a handful of albums starting in the 90s. For their latest they teamed with Alvaro “Jumbo” Fella, vocalist for the short lived 70s Italian prog band Jumbo. To rejuvenate the band, Alvaro tasked CAP with writing songs about Courage and Mystery, hence the album title. The result is eight songs, most of them featuring Alvaro’s raspy vocals. I am unfamiliar with CAP’s previous albums, so I am at a disadvantage when it comes to comparing Coraggio e Mistero to their earlier work. What I can say is despite the intricate arrangements, use of vintage instruments, and Italian prog themes, I find their music somewhat off-putting. I really cannot put my finger on why. Perhaps there are too many shifts in focus, or the melody lines do not engage me, or perhaps it is Alvaro’s vocals. Also the cover art belies the listening experience. I was expecting something fantastical, gentle, and bucolic. The only track that I did find interesting is the mammoth 21 minute “La Notte e il Mulino di Al.” This dark song features lots of organ and guitar interplay, different movements, an acoustic guitar and flute interlude, and ends with sounds of women meowing, screaming, and evil laughter. Of course, no Italian prog album would be complete without a liberal dose of Mellotron and occasional jazzy vibes. Another track, “Tra le Scale e il Cielo,” approaches theatrical prog, similar to Osanna. This album may improve on repeated listenings and be an acquired taste.
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