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(78:14, Mellow Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Midnight Rhapsody 2:23 2. Lusitania 5:43 3. Charlie Brown 5:55 4. Run Bobby Run 4:56 5. Led Ten 5:38 6. Lonely Man 6:43 7. One More Song on the Radio 6:44 8. Sfere 6:44 9. Algarve 6:14 LINEUP: Robby Bovini – vocals; drums; synths Bob Ranzi – piano, keyboards Titti Bolzoni – bass Ivan Bertuzzi – guitars Gabriele Carboni – flute; guitar
Prolusion. The Italian outfit TENMIDNIGHT was formed in 2003 by Robby Bovini and Bob Ranzi, who decided to start playing together in a band again, 30 years after they had done so last. Joined by Bolzoni, Carboni and Bertuzzi, they started to create their own music and in 2006 they issued their self-titled debut effort. "Run" is their second release.
Analysis. The members of TenMidnight have a passion for some rather different styles of music between them. While some possess a great passion for ‘70s Italian progressive rock, others are equally enthralled by the UK-based symphonic greats like Genesis and ELP. And some are of the opinion that the embellished AOR of bands such as Saga and Boston is among the best music ever written. This outfit’s aim is to combine all of these stylistic expressions in its own sonic palette. Blending musical traits that different is a taxing exercise, and personally I'm of the opinion that this fine act still has a way to go before the end result comes close to their peers in terms of quality. Music is a subjective experience of course, and others will probably feel differently. What we're served here is a rather curious selection of compositions. Symphonic passages and embellishments are something of a red thread throughout, either through mellow opening passages, added textures in specific parts of the songs or as inserted solos, the latter occurring most frequently in the instrumental passage usually found in the middle of the track. The other dominant aspect of TenMidnight's musical endeavors is art rock with a heavy tinge to it, with vintage organ and dark-sounding guitar riffs as the central stylistic elements. Adding additional flavor to both of these rather different expressions is the flute of Carboni, in a manner reminiscent of Jethro Tull more than any others. The final twist to this description is the addition of a distinct AOR-tinged sound throughout. The compositions come across as symphonic and as art rock played through a radio-friendly filter, if you like. The truly sophisticated dimensions are lacking; you'll have to listen hard to find any truly challenging features, and if the subtle use of dissonances or disharmonies are effects you enjoy encountering you're out of luck as far as this venture goes. Radio-friendly is probably a good description of the tracks here, and as far as such efforts go this band has some evolving to do before reaching the levels of acts such as the aforementioned Saga and Boston. TenMidnight's excursions do contain a higher degree of sophistication than your average AOR outfit of course, but compared to other artists exploring the musical territories known as progressive rock they do fall somewhat short, at least in this reviewer’s opinion.
Conclusion. While not easily described as innovative or creative, "Run" is a disc that represents a wholehearted attempt at blending sophisticated art rock with radio-friendly hard rock. And while the end result is neither fish nor fowl it isn't a bad production as such. Most of the tunes are pleasant experiences to listen to and will probably be regarded more highly by those with a general interest in radio friendly hard rock, especially if they would like to encounter a more sophisticated version of it. A pleasant album all in all, without reaching any great heights – or great lows either.
OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: January 21, 2010
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