Not a Good Sign — From a Distance
(AltrOck Productions FAD-019, 2015, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2015-05-13Seems like just yesterday I was spilling words about this unfortunately named band’s debut release, but time does fly. From a Distance is a powerful follow-up to the band’s excellent debut, and in most aspects a more direct progressive rock approach, though the band avoids a lot of the excesses that typify that genre, like long extended suites and a forced-retro sound with retro or faux-retro instrumentation. No, you won’t find any Mellotrons here, and the longest of the ten tracks is just over seven minutes – the average being much shorter. This bears more of classic progressive rock’s more complex elements presented with arrangements borne of current-era instrumentation, but informed by the greats of the past. Certainly one will be reminded of 70s Crimson, or early PFM at times, but those moments are mixed well with a blistering blend of current Italian songcraft. The songwriting team of founding members Francesco Zago (guitar) and Paolo “Ske” Botta (keyboards) remains intact (both also members of Yugen), with Zago composing most of the band’s English lyrics, delivered with power, punch and sensitivity by lead singer Alessio Calandriello. The band is rounded out by the rhythm section of incoming bassist Alessandro Cassani and drummer Martino Malacrida, plus several guests including pianist Maurizio Fasoli of Yugen on about four tracks, Jacopo Costa (vibraphone & glockenspiel) on five, and double-reed player Eleonora Grampa on three cuts, including the short, gentle keyboard based closer “Farewell” written by Botta, also featuring Fasoli and Grampa, as a farewell to Zago, who left the band shortly after the recording, since replaced by incoming guitarist Gian Marco Trevisan. No doubt the third album will be different from this one, but From a Distance builds on all the strengths of their debut.
Related artist(s): Not a Good Sign
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more