Thursday, 2 August 2012

THE RETURN OF THE FIREFLIES


Locanda delle Fate come from Asti and in 1977 released a wonderful album titled “Forse le lucciole non si amano più”. Despite the excellent quality, the album was not successful at all and the band gave up in 1978. In the late nineties the band reunited and released a new album in a different style on the independent label Vinyl Magic, “Homo homini lupus”. In some way, all the original members except the vocalist Leonardo Sasso of the band were involved in this project but the result in my opinion was quite disappointing.


“Lucifer quotidie parat bella usto capillo / Quam ferus qui primus protulit horrendo enses / Nos ad mala nostra corde vertemus micante / Atqui homo fieri potuit homini lupus...” The opener title track was sung in Latin and is about the self-destructive attitude of humankind, men killing other men in merciless, endless wars. It's a quite interesting song with amazing backing vocals, Mellotron and Hammond B3. Anyway the rest of the album is not at the same level and after the first track the music turns into melodic pop. There are some scattered good ideas and a couple of nice songs such as “La fine” (The End) or “Fumo” (Smoke) but on the whole this work is really nothing special. A long hiatus followed its release...

Locanda delle Fate 2012

Well, ten years after the ephemeral reunion of the late nineties Locanda delle Fate came back with a renewed line-up. This time the reunion was mainly focused on the live activity and the band rearranged the old repertoire with a vintage taste for some live performances with excellent results and in 2010 they played their first concerts since the late seventies. The current line up features the veterans Leonardo Sasso (vocals), Luciano Boero (bass), Giorgio Gardino (drums) and Oscar Mazzoglio (Hammond, keyboards, minimoog) plus two new members: Maurizio Muha (piano, Moog, Mellotron) and Massimo Brignolo. In 2012 they released a new album on the independent label Altrock, “The Missing Fireflies”, featuring some new studio versions of old pieces and some live tracks taken from a 1977 concert.


The studio version of “Crescendo” (Growing up) is amazing and the vintage sounds take you back in time... “How much of life is wasted by waiting for tomorrow / The petals of a Time without seasons fall down / Some leaves are dancing like butterflies for us all around / I try to catch them by it's time to growing up now...”. This song was composed back in the seventies but it was never recorded in studio before and the new version respects the way it was conceived.

“Sequenza circolare” (Loop) is a fine, short instrumental composed by the newcomer Maurizio Muha and is a perfect introduction for another piece composed in the seventies and here recorded in studio for the first time, “La giostra” (The carousel). It's a beautiful, timeless track about the magic power of dreams... “She is clinging to my nerves that are taking off in orbit above me / I have no fear but standing here I can already see some mirages...”.


The last studio track is a new version of “Non chiudere a chiave le stelle” (Don't lock the stars), a piece about a beautiful girl who wastes her time closed in her room, lost in her dreams. The original version was released in the 1977 album “Forse le lucciole non si amano più” but this version is good as well.

The live tracks are taken from a concert in Asti, at the Alfieri Theatre, on November 21, 1977. The sound quality is not bad but part of the original tapes are lost and what's left are just the final part of “Non chiudere a chiave le stelle”, “Crescendo” and “Vendesi saggezza”. It's an interesting document of the live performances of the old line up, nothing more. Well, all in all I think that this is just a new starting point for the band and I'm looking forward to a new album with new original stuff!

You can listen to the complete album in streaming HERE

Locanda delle Fate: The Missing Fireflies (2012). Other opinions
Jim Russell: This album is a concoction of new recordings and old live performances designed to put them in the prog public eye. For that purpose it is a very successful return indeed. However, if the band truly desires a legacy with the RPI bands they are often compared to, they will need a new collection of originals more convincing than their last comeback attempt in the 90s, which was not well received by prog fans. Listening to this album I believe they have the potential to pull it off... (read the complete review HERE).
Raffaella Benvenuto-Berry: For obvious reasons, The Missing Fireflies… will be seen more as a collectors’ item than a genuine new release. The four studio tracks, however, reveal the strength of Locanda Delle Fate’s current line-up, which includes most of its founding members... All in all, The Missing Fireflies will be a worthwhile investment for dedicated followers of the band and fans of the original RPI scene, while newcomers might want to try Forse Le Lucciole Non Si Amano Più before taking the plunge. In any case, the release of the album, together with the success of Locanda Delle Fate’s recent live outings (at the time of writing, they have just returned from Japan, where they appeared at a festival in Tokyo together with other historic Italian prog bands), bodes well for the future of the new incarnation of the band... (read the complete review HERE).


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