Wednesday, 28 March 2018

HOMESICK SAILORS AND SALTY DOGS


Il Fedelissimo Bracco Branco came to life in 2013 in Motta di Livenza, a small town near Treviso, when Guido Morossi (drums) and Loris Ceccato (bass) teamed up with Federico Panighel (accordion, keyboards, lead vocals) to play original compositions inspired by classic and progressive rock. In 2014 guitarist Stefano Crovato joined them and, after a good live activity on the local scene, in 2017 the band self-released an excellent debut album entitled Appunti di navigazione (Navigation notes), a conceptual work dedicated to the sea. In my opinion it’s an excellent work, fresh and rich in ideas. The use of accordion and the theatrical vocals give a particular touch of colour to pieces where vintage echoes are perfectly blended with more modern sounds while the packaging and booklet are enhanced by Erika De Pieri’s wonderful paintings that in some way convey the musical content through visual art. Strong melodies against the tides, timeless adventurers sailing free across unknown seas dreaming of new discoveries and promised lands… Are you ready to set off? 


The brilliant opener “Levate l'ancora” (Weigh anchor) introduces the subject matter: here the lyrics are loosely based on the Dialogue between Christopher Columbus and Peter Gutierrez from the Small Moral Works by Italian poet and philosopher Giacomo Leopardi while the music evokes open seas and the longing for adventure and freedom… Just as we care nothing for many benefits as soon as we possess them; so sailors cherish and value, very greatly, numerous things that are far from being good, simply because they are deprived of them... Once on terra firma, the mere consciousness of being free to go where we please will suffice to make us happy for several days... (Giacomo Leopardi, translated by Charles Edwardes). 

Il Fedelissimo Bracco Branco 2017

The music and words of the following “La zattera nel fosso” (The raft in the ditch) tell about the desire of adventure of a child who looks at the ships leaving a seaport for unknown destinations: he dreams to leave behind him the misery and boredom of his present life becoming a sailor like in a Stevenson’s novel… “Soon the anchor was short up; soon it was hanging dripping at the bows; soon the sails began to draw, and the land and shipping to flit by on either side; and before I could lie down to snatch an hour of slumber the Hispaniola had begun her voyage to the Isle of Treasure...”. Just a short quote from the novel Treasure Island to give you an idea of what this track is about! 


“Nella tana del mostro” (In the monster’s lair) is about the desperate fighting of the seamen against stormy weather and raging waves. Heavy electric guitar riffs and bold voices against the wind... You can hear here lightning, fire, the black fury of the sea but most of all the strength to fight together as a team to survive, to overcome every adversity... 

“Scegliendo la rotta” (Choosing the course) depicts the tension and doubts of a brave captain who has to make up his mind about the course to follow, defying his destiny and that of his crew. The captain prefers to risk his life rather than to go back with empty hands… Beware men, this is the final rush! Now the wind is with us, have faith! 


The melancholic “La ballata dell'arruolamento forzato” (Ballad of the forced enlistment) depicts the feelings of a sailor who was caught by the press-gang and forced to serve on warship, a vessel called Surprise. Every day he thinks of his lost sweetheart and family and hopes to go back home as soon as the war is over. Unfortunately, a cannonball takes his life before that day... 

The evocative instrumental “I pescatori dei banchi” (The fishermen of the banks) begins softly with a delicate piano solo pattern, then heavy guitars and the rhythm section come in… There are many changes in mood and atmosphere but result in my opinion is amazing. It’s a perfect soundtrack for a fishing adventure on an exotic, dangerous sea... 


The theatrical “Il ponte bagnato di sangue” (The bloody deck) depicts in music and words the failed attempt to capture a pirate ship. The narrator is the captain of a Navy vessel that is sure to beat his enemy. After a long hunt he sees the ship of the famous pirate Roger Spitfire… He can hear the bold, careless singing of the pirates. You can’t put in chains wolves like those and stop their wish for freedom... 

“Spartisci il bottino” (Share the loot) is a lively, beautiful instrumental piece that recalls the scores of the Italian films of the seventies called poliziotteschi. It leads to the dramatic “Sophie”, a caustic love song that depicts the feelings of a man still in love for a bad girl who cheated on him and stole his money. The trauma changed his life and transformed him into a cruel pirate. But he still longs for her... 


“Lo scontro finale” (The final clash) is full of positive energy and depicts the moment of the discovery of a new world: it’s the moment when the land appears on the horizon, slowly materializing through the fog. Beyond the unknown there’s always a new world for the brave but doubts are endless and a new discovery can never satisfy an adventurer... 

The closer “L'incrociatore” (The cruiser) is another beautiful instrumental track where aggressive riffs and calmer passages alternate giving a sense of dreamy adventure… On the booklet the picture chosen to describe this piece portrays a child with a toy war ship and a tiny soldier in his hands… 

On the whole, I think that this is really an excellent album, one of my favourites in 2017! 

You can listen to the complete album HERE


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