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(39:41, Altrock Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Tanto Gofio Saremo 5:50 2. La Cumbia Ingles 6:04 3. Zamba del Chapparon 6:44 4. Camino a dos Rios 4:05 5. Saracinesca 5:30 6. Amuleto 3:37 7. Ampro 1:40 8. Peperina en el Samaforo 6:11 LINEUP: Facundo Moreno – charango, classical guitars Santiago Moreno – classical guitar Marco Ravera – electric guitar Tommaso Rolando – electric bass, contrabass Manuel Merialdo – glockenspiel, percussion Santo Florelli – drums; accordion Mattia Tommasini – violins Tatiana Zakharova – vocals
Prolusion. While bearing a Spanish name, APARECIDOS is an Italian band, however. The 40-minute “Palito Bombon Helado” is their debut album.
Analysis. Only two of the eight tracks presented contain vocals, few in both cases, so their bearer appears very much an all-instrumental record overall, pretty uniform in style, I must add. Mostly jovial, yet never thoughtless, the music here is either largely or semi-acoustic and has a certain folk-rock character with a set of South European motifs, of which Spanish (flamenco et al.) and Greek ones (sirtaki) appear most frequently. Tracks like Tanto Gofio Saremo, La Cumbia Ingles and Camino a dos Rios are particularly representative in this respect. All of them are built around two classical guitars, one of which provides folk colorations, while another is played classically, somewhere in the vein of Steve Hackett, albeit at times with frenetic fingerpicking style. Upon that foundation the other musicians add a violin, contrabass and percussion, plus drums and electric guitar when necessary – and then the music assumes the shape of folk-tinged guitar Art-Rock. As almost everywhere on the album, the result is firmly focused on ensemble playing, revealing a lot of various sounds. The melodies range from congenial to overtly jovial, and the harmonies remain completely tonal. On the other hand, although the arrangements aren’t complex, their development exhibits an almost ever-changing character, avoiding repeats of a previously played theme. Saracinesca and Peperina en el Samaforo are in many ways similar, but contain more moves of a full-band sound. The octet’s instrumentation retains a characteristic folk quality, with its frequent low contrabass lines, violin melodies and acoustic guitar leads, but structurally and harmonically, the pieces both look to guitar art-rock traditions more often than they do to folk rock ones, as also do Zamba del Chapparon and Amuleto, the only two tracks on the CD whose source of inspiration is often instantly obvious and is Led Zeppelin. In particular, the glissando riffs that the first of them begins with echo those from the intro to ‘In My Time of Dying’ (“Physical Graffiti”), while the latter rhythmically recalls ‘Friends’ (“III”) in places. In some of the looser sections of the tracks though, where a violin finds its way into the mix, the music has a feel reminiscent of Kansas. Finally, the album’s shortest item, Ampro, finds an acoustic guitar, violin, bass and percussion all contributing fairly equally to its overall sound, but only the former instrument is played traditionally, whereas the parts of the others are done spontaneously. What really matter, though, this is a fun album of original compositions played impeccably by an impressive and talented crew. Almost every piece is full of surprises and unexpected twists that seem to bear out the band’s innovative pedigree, yet it all fits together seamlessly, and remains fairly accessible to boot.
Conclusion. While the music on this outing owes much to South European folk traditions, the band often goes beyond a simple regurgitation of idiomatic musical stylings. Instead, the material is used as a common reference feature, from which the musicians construct perky, intelligent compositions, most of which have a strong identity to their sound. This sort of thing is obviously not everyone’s cup of tea, but the album is unmistakably a high-quality release, bordering on masterpiece. Those with an appreciation of folk sounds and solid, smart writing will surely enjoy.
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