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Electric Swan - 2012 - "Swirl in Gravity"

(47:25, Black Widow Records)


****+
                 
TRACK LIST:

1.  Swirl in Gravity 5:13
2.  Lonely Skies 5:36
3.  End of Time 6:23
4.  Wicked Flowers 6:09
5.  Ride on another Sun 5:05
6.  Garden of Burning Trees 8:15
7.  Move Over 4:07
8.  Drag My Mind 6:37

LINE UP:

Lucio Calegari Ц guitars; vocals
Monica Sardella Ц vocals 
Paolo Aegri Ц keyboards  
Marco Barbieri Ц drums 
Edo Giovanelli Ц bass 
With:
Clive Jones Ц saxophone 

Prolusion. The Italian band ELECTRIC SWAN is the creative vehicle of Wicked MindsТ guitarist Lucio Calegari. This band project appeared with their debut album back in 2008, a production which appears to have made something of an impact back then. "Swirl in Gravity" is their second album, and was released by the Italian label Black Widow Records in 2012.

Analysis. Vintage-oriented hard rock and retro-oriented hard rock are two expressions that should be pretty familiar and elf explaining to most. Two different manners of placing a contemporary band within a context that frequently will encompass bands like Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple, all of which have been noted by Electric Swan as its important influences. But unlike the majority of artists exploring this particular realm of the rock universe, we're dealing with a band that doesn't end up sounding highly similar to the three artists mentioned, nor do they come across as that similar to any of their other stated influences either. And what separates this band from so many of their contemporary retro-oriented colleagues is a distinct US flavor to the proceedings. Lead vocalist Sardella is as good a starting point as anything else to unravel my overall impression. She has a strong, powerful voice, finely controlled for the majority of the vocal parts. Not extremely distinct, and with something of a blues-tinged edge to it. And when she occasionally release the control and let her vocals chords rip it's hard not to notice something of a similarity in approach to the late, legendary Janis Joplin, which is probably one of the reasons for a cover version of Move Over to make up a part of this album I'd guess. Although I'll admit that the compact, harder edged version of it performed by Electric Swan doesn't manage to recreate the magic of the original item. And as blues has been briefly mentioned, let's continue and expand on that topic, because there's quite a lot of blues rock included in these compositions. The vocals, as noted, and also the guitars tend to be oriented somewhere in that direction, shades of Black Sabbath for sure, some details here and movements there reflect back to the legacy of Tony Iommi indeed, but also psych-dripping, blues-tinged guitar soloing with a touch of Jimi Hendrix and Robin Trower is a part of the whole here. As well as lighter toned, gentler and calmer themes that alongside the organ bring with them associations towards one of the legendary US rock acts, The Allman Brothers Band. And to my ears it's the combination of occasional gentler, blues oriented guitar details, the supporting organ and the previously described lead vocals that in sum adds up to a distinctly US-oriented sound. There's more to this CD than just these details admittedly, with Led Zeppelin another band that deserves name-dropping, blended with Sabbath-tinged atmospheres on Garden of Burning Trees and with the aforementioned Allman Brothers Band for final cut Drag My Mind. And a gentler saxophone driven sequence on aforementioned Garden of Burning Trees actually reminds ever so slightly of Gerry Rafferty. This is all assembled in fairly compact excursions with a distinct 70's hard rock feel to them, now and then with swirling electronic noises added to the mix adding an unexpected twist to the proceedings, slight space rock details added to this otherwise down to earth, blues oriented breed of 70's hard rock. And while I didn't find this CD to be a brilliant one, it does stand out a bit from the crowd due to the band's choice of stylistic blend and orientation.

Conclusion. Vintage oriented hard rock with the 70's in sharp focus is what Electric Swan provides on their second production "Swirl in Gravity", and while you can name many of the usual suspects as possible sources of inspiration there's a distinct blues influence that is a common denominator throughout, and in a manner that makes associations towards a band like The Allman Brothers Band hard to avoid. And if you have their albums side by side with Black Sabbath and Janis Joplin in your record collection, I suspect you should find this disc to be a fairly enjoyable acquaintance.

OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: December 12, 2012
The Rating Room


Related Links:

Black Widow Records
Electric Swan


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