Sunday, 12 November 2017

FROM AN ISLAND

Island Tales is the first full length album by La Rua Catalana, a band from Benevento formed in 2009. It was released in 2015 on the independent label Octopus Records with a line up featuring Leonardo De Stasio (vocals, guitars), Corrado Ciervo (violin, guitars, keyboards, synth, backing vocals), Vittorio Coviello (flute, backing vocals), Marco Coviello (drums, cajon, percussion, didgeridoo) and Carlo Ciervo (bass). After two EP and a good live activity on the local scene, the band had the chance to spend some time in the old monastery of Zungoli, near Avellino, to work on their compositions and the peaceful atmosphere and the good vibrations of this unusual location contributed to shape the overall sound of the album, influenced by bands such as The Beatles, Jethro Tull and many others...


After the pre-production, for the recording sessions in the studio they were helped by some guest musicians such as Daniele Pescatore (keyboards), Valentina Acca (backing vocals), Fabio Cesare (sax), Luigi De Cicco (guitar) and a string quartet, the Arechi Quartet featuring Lorenza Maio (violin), Federica Paduano (violin), Federica Bibbo’ (viola) and Alessandra Ercolani (cello). The result of their efforts is good, although at times I would have preferred they had used their native language instead of English...

La Rua Catalana 2015

According to the band, the title of the album, Island Tales, refers to a metaphorical island, a kind of shelter from the storms of life where time stands still and you can live your dreams. The music is not overtly complex but always well refined and the simple melodies are enhanced by intriguing parts of flute and strings. The opener, “Moon's Joke” is a dynamic ballad dedicated to the people in search for happiness that every now and again recalls Jethro Tull, then comes the jazzy “The Island” that tells of lost dreams and shining smiles opposed to a bleak reality...

The caustic “The Colonel” was inspired by the fictional character of Francis Ford Coppola's film Apocalypse Now, Colonel Walter E. Kurtz, portrayed by Marlon Brando, while the following, bitter-sweet “The clown” tells of a sad man who has to make people laugh for a living. Then comes “Song For Jeff”, inspired by the death of Jeff Buckley and musically a bit in debt with George Harrison…


The swinging, careless “Dreamland” is about an escape from reality, a visionary daydream where you can find an ideal world. Next come the cover of a Tunng’s song, “Bullets”, and the melodic, light “Escape! (Break!)”. The new romantic waves of the folksy ballad “Goodbye” bring other dreams under the moonlight while the following “Slow Down” is more complex and tells about the need to take a pause from the daily grind.

The nervous “And I'll Never Know” (about a difficult relationship) and the delicate, melancholic “Gold And Silver Wings” (about a solitary man who tries to escape from the gilded cage of his routine) close an album full of interesting ideas and light melodies that is worth listening to...

You can listen to the complete album HERE

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