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TRACK LIST: 1. Achilles 14:51 2. The Quind 9:23 3. The Eyes of Age 4:30 4. Alice's Eerie Dream 11:50 5. The Last Oddity 10:17 6. The Carpet Crawlers (b/t) 6:06 7. Radio Edit of Alice's Eerie Dream (b/t) 3:59 LINEUP: Franck Carducci – keyboards; el., ac. & bass guitars; vocals Richard Vecchi – analog keyboards With: Toff – drums (2, 4) Vivika Sapori – violin (5, 6) Nicholas Gauthier – vocals (2, 3) Yanne Matis – backing vocals (5, 6) &: A few more musicians and singers
Prolusion. “Oddity” is the debut album by French multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Franck CARDUCCI. It’s made up of seven tracks, the first five of those his original creations, running for 50 minutes.
Analysis. In the press kit of the album its creator assures the potential listener that he has a strong passion for Genesis and Pink Floyd, which is gospel truth, dear readers, you may believe me. On four of the five tracks that are penned by him, Frank carefully re-explores his benefactors’ creative legacies, occasionally borrowing something from those, imitating the style and arrangement alike. The longest two compositions, Alice's Eerie Dream and Achilles, each sounds for the most part like a tribute to mid ‘70s Pink Floyd and Genesis respectively (only think Ray Wilson-like vocals in the latter case), infrequently revealing the influences of the other band, whereas The Last Oddity and The Quind both contain those in almost equal proportions, often blending them. All four of these pieces feature extended instrumental sections with an assortment of key and theme changes to help keep things from stagnating, though the last three of them additionally contain moments that operate as ravishing acoustic guitar interludes, the ones on the disc opener, which feature a flute solo courtesy of John Hackett, instantly bringing to mind Steve Hackett’s, circa “Voyage of the Acolyte”. (By the way, the original edition of that album, as well as some of its reissues, uses Steve Hackett & His Genesis Friends as its moniker.) However, the longer tracks, say, better follow the canon of ‘70s symphonic Art-Rock, particularly the Genesis-inspired piece, on which the music is full of twists and turns, ever-changing almost throughout. Besides, it has a distinct retro feel to it, but never sounds antiquated. Widely using Hammond, Moog and Rhodes, it totally avoids modern techniques, and even if some of the keyboards are contemporary, they’re configured to sound fully compatible with the tones of vintage instruments. As for the other two tunes, when they stretch out, it’s more of a manner of building things up slowly with subtle variations and soaring, often blues-styled, guitars than contrasting sections, albeit The Last Oddity reveals one up-tempo, in all senses full-blown, sympho-prog move – not long before the curtain falls. Finally, The Eyes of Age is a fairly original as well as effective folk-rock song, jovial in mood, deploying a violin as its central soloing instrument. Of the two bonus tracks, the Radio Edit of Alice's Eerie Dream is the worst item of the album. Frank simply took one third of the original (epic!) piece and transformed its sound into a more fashionable manner, as if he still lives in the time of hit singles. A cover version of Genesis’s The Carpet Crawlers, from “The Lamb Lies Down in Broadway”, compositionally repeats the original, but is played with different instruments, and I really doubt the violin is necessary there, to say the least. Vocally it’s even worse, however, bringing to mind Ray Wilson while-warming-up-sing (with a strange accent in addition), as also does the rest of the Genesis-inspired material. The men, as well as women on backing vocals, are more convincing as well as varied when singing in the style of Pink Floyd – one time I was reminded even of Roy Harper, who sung on Have a Cigar from “Wish You Were Here”.
Conclusion. Frank Carducci (along with his associates, of course) has quite well coped with the task of reproducing the spirit and the aura of his beloved musical acts, scoring a particular success within the sections where he mixes both the implying influences. On the other hand, while carefully imitating his benefactors, especially Pink Floyd, he never reaches the level of artistry of either of them. Okay, bearing in mind that this is a debut album, I’ll rate it as a good one.
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