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(59:20, Black Widow Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Anima di Gomma 5:26 2. La Grande Carovana 4:18 3. Canzone dei Cuori Semplici 7:26 4. Skizoid Blues 5:15 5. Il Venditore di Palloni 5:03 6. In una Stanza 4:41 7. Stelle di Vetro 4:56 8. Nel Mio Cortile 4:29 9. Solo Amore 7:21 10. Oltre Lontano, Lontano 10:23 LINEUP: Maurizio Cassinelli vocals; drums; keyboards; guitars; harmonica Marco Zoccheddu guitars; keyboards Gianpaolo Casu guitars; vocals Bambi Fossati guitars; vocals Mauro Culotta guitars Angelo Traverso bass With: Martin Grice sax Daniela Piras flute Roberto Piga violin Pino Nastasi bass; vocals &: A few more musicians
Prolusion. Formed in the 60's, the Italian band GLEEMEN released a single album back in 1970. In 1972 they decided to continue using a new name, Garybaldi, and released two more albums under that name before calling it quits. They reunited again in 1990 for a few years, and after another spell of inactivity reunited again in 2010. Come 2013 and the members decide to revive the old Gleemen band name, and towards the end of the year "Oltre... Lontano, Lontano" was released through Black Widow Records, 43 years after the first album issued under that band name saw the light of day.
Analysis. While both Gleemen and the later versions of the band using the Garybaldi moniker tend to be described and categorized somewhere inside the progressive rock universe, the 2013 edition of Gleemen is a band that appears to reside in the borderlands just outside of that territory rather than inside it. On some occasions they are actually rather far removed from progressive rock as such, and I suspect many will regard the band as they appear on this album from a blues rock perspective rather than a progressive rock one. Blues and blues rock are central elements throughout this production, and this is a band that appears familiar and experienced in exploring that particular style. The two songs that open this disc document that in a splendid manner, blues based rock with a slight orientation towards 70's mainstream hard rock for the second of those, liberally flavored with Latin inspired percussion of the kind that gave me associations towards the likes of Santana. That Gleemen also found room for some gentle flute and keyboards inserts in those songs a small detail that will probably be of interest to progressive rock fans. The following composition Canzone dei Cuori Semplici, where a singer/songwriter foundation is liberally flavored with symphonic oriented keyboard textures and psychedelic guitar and keyboard details, is a different story altogether. Still with room for some blues-oriented details, but in this case there's an emphasis on progressive rock oriented arrangements and structures, and is just about the only song on this album that can be described in that manner. Gleemen continues to add variety to their game though, with two cases of rougher, harder edged bluesy rock of the kind that has a slight touch of Jimi Hendrix to them, then a frail, mellow affair with acoustic guitars and cello supplementing the lead vocals in a manner that does bring The Beatles to mind, while another song brings in the contrabass for a more jazz-oriented run through a song that otherwise alternates between smooth 70's rock, blues rock and psychedelic rock. The concluding title track is a rather different kettle of fish again, this one with acoustic guitars, piano, accordion and harmonica combining in a light toned, gentle style that brings bands like the Allman Brothers Band to mind, if there is such a thing as southern blues rock this is probably it. And when the last track ebbs out at the seven minute mark, a frail, acoustic guitars and vocals only epilogue appears as a so called hidden track, further expanding the stylistic palette utilized on this production.
Conclusion. While Gleemen as of 2013 perhaps isn't the best fit for the avid progressive rock fan they do touch ground also with this style during this hour long album. Their field of expertise appears to be blues based hard rock with more of a mainstream orientation however, and it's when exploring that variety of music I find Gleemen to be most intriguing. Which, in summary, should mean that those with a soft spot for that kind of music that also have an interest in progressive rock to be a likely key audience for this album.
OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: June 15, 2014
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