Thursday, 3 October 2013

THE FLIGHT OF THE MOSQUITO

Il Volo was a kind of supergroup based in Milan that was formed in 1974 and in the same year released an eponymous début album. All the members of the band were experienced musicians who had previously militated in other bands and collaborated with other artists: Alberto Radius (guitar, vocals) and Gabriele Lorenzi (keyboards, organ, moog, harpsichord) came from Formula 3, Mario Lavezzi (guitars, mandolin, vocals) from Flora Fauna e Cemento and I Camaleonti, Bob Callero (bass – credited on the album under the nickname “Olov”) from Osage Tribe and Duello Madre, Gianni Dall’Aglio (drums) from I Ribelli and Vince Tempera (piano, keyboards) from Pleasure Machine. Years of hard work as session men and as members of other bands had resulted in considerable musicianship and experience but the problem here, in my opinion, is the lack of originality in the song-writing that appears in debt with some of Lucio Battisti's albums of the same period.


However, even if it doesn't shine for its originality, the music is really good and the opener “Come una zanzara” (Like a mosquito) is very promising. It begins with an instrumental intro that lasts more than two minutes and that features a good bass work and an evocative, mysterious atmosphere, then vocals come in... “Like a mosquito in Africa / Me too, I'm lost among millions, nay milliards, of people... Why am I a man?...”. The rhythm section is powerful, all along the album you can appreciate a good interaction between keyboards and guitars. The music flows steadily, track after track, there are some acoustic and melodic moments, some blues and jazz influences. There are no outstanding tracks but the average quality is really good. Unfortunately the lyrics, in my opinion, are rather uninspired.

Vince Tempera - Alberto Radius - Bob Callero

To be honest, here every now and again lyricist Mogol seems to have picked the words almost at random, for their sound rather than for their meaning and you need a lot of imagination to appreciate and comprehend them... Anyway, “La mia rivoluzione” (My revolution) is about the need to believe in your own goals, “Il calore umano” (The human heat) depicts a man in a cave near a bonfire and evokes the strange human heat that you can feel when living in a community, “Il canto della preistoria” (The song of the prehistory) describes in a surreal way the symbiosis between man and nature, “I primi respiri” (First breaths) evokes a difficult relationship depicting an armour that risks to suffocate the man who wears it, “La canzone del nostro tempo” (The song of our time) deals in some way with environmental issues... “It's hard to plough the motorways / Killed hopes are not fertilizer for new businesses...”. Then “Sonno” (Sleep) depicts a feeling of selfishness that feeds a moral and physical sense of boredom while the conclusive “Sinfonia delle scarpe da tennis” (The symphony of the tennis shoes) depicts a pair of sneakers as a metaphor for freedom.

Mario Lavezzi - Gianni Dall'Aglio - Gabriele Lorenzi

On the whole, this album could have been a good “conceptual work”, the music is well performed and there are some recurrent themes (for instance, at the end of the second and of the third track there are little reprises of “Come una zanzara” played by the guitar), but at length “Battisti’s shadow” is overwhelming and the band seem to suffer from a kind of “crisis of identity”. A good album, but not an essential one.

You can listen to the complete album in streaming HERE

Il Volo: Il Volo (1975). Other opinions.
Jim Russell: This is an easy to digest work for anyone. Aside from the Italian language singing, this album is more conventional prog than others in the genre. Nice melodies, laid back vocals, smooth electric guitar solos, some acoustic guitars, and less weird keyboard... Unlike some of the more complex Italian albums, Il Volo may be a good starting point for newbies to the genre. If you're looking for one to try out that isn't too weird or wild, this album will deliver a solid rock experience and give you a little taste of the Italian scene... (read the complete review HERE)