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(56:08, Lizard Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Circumnavigazione di una Menta 4:48 2. Cuore Solubile 3:58 3. Il Gardino di Twicknam 5:36 4. Civilizzazione 3:48 5. Moto Perpetuo 5:11 6. Vite Vicarie 3:39 7. Amras 6:22 8. Provviste per il Viaggio 3:30 9. Infautanendu 4:45 10. Gli Abitanti della Seconda Guerra Mondiale 3:10 11. La Perfezione 5:16 12. Stanchezza 6:03 LINEUP: Alessandro Brocchi – vocals; guitar, bass; tampura, drum machine Alessandro Mazzitelli - organ, keyboards; drum machine Davide Baglietto – el. & ac. piano, keyboards; whistles Valter Rosa – guitars, bouzuki, oud Ivan Ghizzoni – bass; drum pads; voice Davide Bonfante – drums; backing vocals
Prolusion. The Italian band MONJOIE has been around in one form or another since they started out back in 1999. They released two albums early on, "Contravveleno" in 2002 and "Il Bacio di Polifemo" in 2004, and then faded out of sight for a bit. They returned in 2012 with a third studio production, "Afetto e Attrazione", which was released via Lizard Records.
Analysis. I do not know what the situation was for this band at the time of writing, as their presence on their various websites kind of indicates a band that isn't all that active anymore. Which is sad, as this is a band that had something really interesting going on, judging from the contents of their third studio album. Just how much their music will be favored by progressive rock fans remains an open question, but those who enjoy artists thinking outside of the box should find this band rather interesting. The driving, often pumping bass guitar that is such a distinct presence on the greater majority of the album’s compositions reveals this as a band that is familiar with alternative rock and new wave, and names like U2 and perhaps even Killing Joke pop up in the associations department as this album is played through. Initially, there are also certain similarities to Rush however, in terms of how the compositions unfold, the types of guitar riffs that are used, and even in the keyboard sounds and arrangements. That the opening composition Circumnavigazione di una Menta dips ever so slightly into space rock territories also merits mentioning I guess, and electronic details do appear here and there throughout this album, albeit never closing in on any cosmic-oriented music following this. The alternative and new wave vibes do remain though, combined in a number of different manners with numerous stylistic details flavoring them. A certain folk music vibe is a presence throughout, and both fragile and majestic symphonic sequences are given space here and there for brief visits or slightly longer stays too. Slide guitar and organ in more of a west coat US rock oriented style are also a part of this totality, and layered keyboards and electronics-dominated arrangements of a more nondescript style have also found their way into this production somehow. But rather than exploring these various styles in a more purebred form Monjoie seeks to combine them, if not all at once then at least several of these stylistic details are thrown together in compositions that sometimes may have more of a distinct mainstream pop or rock sound to them, at other times within structural contexts closer to what you'll find among progressive rock bands, at other times with arrangements inspiring associations to the progressive rock universe. An album that hovers on a number of different borders, if you like, and a production that does indeed contain a progressive spirit and approach, even if perhaps not quite adhering to a description as progressive rock as such.
Conclusion. Monjoie plays around with a myriad of stylistic elements on their third album "Afetto e Attrazione", where a certain alternative rock or new wave foundation and elements from folk music are most numerous, but also with an approach and sometimes arrangements or compositional structures that bring them closer to progressive rock on occasion. The music is likeable rather than challenging however, and a suggested audience would be those who enjoy sophisticated mainstream rock as well as those who enjoy progressive rock with a strong degree of mainstream rock tendencies. In both cases a certain affection for a band that explores outside of common conventions will be needed.
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