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(43:16, Mellow Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. The Palmist 5:10 2. Harpo’s Dilemma 2:52 3. Alan Smithee 4:39 4. Johnny Fisher 4:07 5. Cucaracha Mezcal 3:29 6. Dead Men’s Touch 6:26 7. Seventies in a Closet 2:37 8. French Horns 3:25 9. Tomfool 3:50 10. Stone in the Wind 5:29 LINEUP: Nic-G – el. & ac. guitars Massimiliano Ferrari – lead & backing vocals Michele Chiarato – keyboards, organ, el. piano Gianmatteo Lucchin – drums Alessandro Zaia – bass
Prolusion. Led by guitarist Nicola “Nic-G” Gardinale, NIC-G & THE MOGSY is a modern Italian outfit, although its name arouses vivid associations with the early ‘60s.
Analysis. On its self-titled debut release the quintet plays conventional Hard Rock with some progressive as well as ‘adult-oriented’ tendencies, relying predominantly on the activities of Nicola Gardinale and singer Massimiliano Ferrari, each of whom is additionally behind all the music and lyrics here, respectively. That’s not to say that their music is devoid of any shades of originality, but nevertheless it is heavily influenced by Uriah Heep and Nazareth, the recording’s imaginary Side A sounding overall like a kind of quasi tribute to the English band, with Side B similarly to the Scottish one. Thanks to the studio possibilities, Ferrari alone provides all lead and harmony vocals, and on the first four tracks, The Palmist, Harpo’s Dilemma, Alan Smithee and Johnny Fisher, his singing reminds me very much of a mix of John Lawton and David Byron. Structurally the songs are all built up in a typically Uriah Heep manner also, combining heavy guitar riff-laden moves with still rock-ish, yet softer-sounding ones alongside mellow, ballad-like arrangements. The keyboards are used more sparingly than, well, it’s clear where, the organ leads suggesting Phil Lanzon’s rather than Ken Hensley’s approach. All in all, it would probably be enough to mentally gather together the most standard songs from the London group’s entire repertoire and imagine some mean average of those to have a relatively clear idea of this stuff, the same words being overall relevant as regards the album’s second half with its other influence. The rest of the material is even poorer in keyboard patterns, and when Nic-G and his mates go heavy there the rock-and-roll roots of the genre often come to surface, none of which comes as surprises, though, bearing in mind the band’s other benefactor’s creative approach to this kind of music. The songs, Cucaracha Mezcal, Dead Men’s Touch, French Horns, Tomfool, Stone in the Wind and Seventies in a Closet (what a bad title for a track which is just imbued with the spirit of the decade!), all find Ferrari trying all his best to imitate Dan McCafferty, but since his natural vocal possibilities don’t allow him to sing continuously both as powerfully and hysterically as the Nazareth front-man (who is one of the most original and distinctive hard rock singers ever) does, from time to time his delivery brings to mind a fairly odd blend of Dan’s and John Lawton’s intonations.
Conclusion. In all, this recording sounds quite nostalgic, but do we really need another Uriah Heep or another Nazareth, especially at their most average, so to speak? Even if the disc had been released in the ‘70s it would had not have entered a Billboard or Rolling Stone chart, either, due to its heavily derivative nature. Perhaps only die-hard hard rock fans will find it to be a satisfiable creation.
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