Sunday, 14 June 2015

A LONG WAY DOWN

Hailing from Milan, Le Folli Arie came to life in 2012 on the initiative of four experienced musicians sharing a common love for the music of the seventies and, according to their website, among their influences you can find bands and artists such as Jeff Buckley, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Genesis, Yes, Porcupine Tree, Lucio Battisti, PFM and many more. The band tried to brew all these influences into something personal and new and, after two years of hard work in the studio, in 2014 they self-released an eponymous debut album. The line up features Simone Corazzari (lead vocals, guitars), Massimiliano Masciari (bass), Marco Antonio Cerioli (keyboards, vocals) and Francesco Meles (drums, percussions) plus many guests that contributed to enrich the sound such as Gianluca Del Fiol (guitar), Luca Pasqua (guitar), Maurizio Signorino (sax), Piergiorgio Elia (sax), Edwin Della Torre (percussion), Serena Ferrara (backing vocals), Giorgia Ieluzzi (backing vocals), Alessandra Marina (backing vocals), Annamaria Cristian (cello), Silvio Centamore (drums, percussion), Lorenzo Pierobon (didgeridoo) and Manuela Masciari (castanets). According to the band, the music on this work could be defined as pop dressed in progressive rock or viceversa. The songwriting tries to be direct and easy while avoiding being banal or straightforward commercial, the overall sound is rich and well refined but, in my opinion, it's a pity that the band did not venture into lengthy tracks and more challenging instrumental passages.


The beautiful artwork by Matteo Compagnoni depicts an imaginary city in the sky, a crazy world where the perception of reality is completely distorted. According to the band, all the tracks are linked by a common thread and you should listen to them one after each other as if they were parts of a long suite that gently flows with no discrepancies... The introspective lyrics are cryptic in their simplicity and tell of a personal crises leading to madness with soft tones and a touch of melancholy. Well, the overall atmosphere conveyed by the music and lyrics reminds me of a short story by Italian writer Dino Buzzati, Ragazza che precipita, and of a novel by British writer Nick Hornby, A Long Way Down...

The opener "Salto nel buio" (Jump in the dark) tells of a difficult choice, a jump in the dark to look for something that does not exist, pushed by the deceptive hope of finding a way out from a personal crises... It leads to the lighter "Bellezza" (Beauty), a melodic ballad that tells of an indescribable beauty, free as the sun, that surrounds you but that you can't grasp... Who can't save you from yourself?


The bitter-sweet "Non è facile" (It's not easy) is a melodic piece about a difficult relationship. For this track the band shot a video where you can see a man and a woman who have to endeavour many humiliations during their everyday life... The following "Quello che ho" (What I've got) tells about a man who feels inappropriate since he can't give to his sweetheart what she needs...

Next comes the lively instrumental "On da bridge" that the recalls the soundtracks of the Italian films from the seventies and bands such as Calibro 35 or La Batteria. It leads to the sarcastic "Fuori!" (Out!), featuring Latin rhythms and a strong criticism against the culture of consumerism. The lyrics describe a man strolling along the streets of Milan who looks at the empty, false people having fun... He can't be like them, he thinks that's far better dealing with a hundred hippies than with a single spoiled rich boy...

Le Folli Arie on stage 2015

The mood of the following "Il giardino della mia follia" (The garden of my madness) is darker. This piece tries to describe in words and lyrics a man prisoner of his dreams who tries to lock up in his heart all his pain and his personal hell getting lost in his madness... "Mentre tu cadi" (While you are falling down) tells of a man who realizes that one of his friends is burning out following the course of his madness. You can perceive a sense of merciful pity but nobody can help his unfortunate friend, it's too late and there's nothing to do...

"Il giorno mio migliore" (My best day) takes us back to start, to the flight in the void of a man who can't wait for a better day. In his song there's a dream, in his steps you can feel the unstoppable desire of jumping down through a sky of lead... The closer "Alien's trip" features some ethnic flavours and accompanies his last flight towards another dimension.


"Shot in the dark", "A better day tomorrow" and "It's not easy" are just the English versions of "Salto nel buio", "Il giorno mio migliore" and "Non è facile", three bonus tracks that do not add anything to this work... On the whole, I think that this is a nice pop rock album where melody prevails on a more adventurous, daring approach to songwriting. I know, it could be disappointing for a prog fan, but if you like bands such as Laviàntica, Layra or Camelias Garden, have a try: you can listen to the complete album HERE.

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