They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Well in this album, a song is worth a thousand pictures. When taking on a blind review it can be difficult to connect to the music with no previous knowledge of the band, the genre, or in this case even the language. This album in particular however, when listened to altogether in order, doesn’t need an explanation because you can make your own.
I am sure that if I took some lessons and understood every word I would enjoy the album just as much, probably more as a lyrics lover, however even without the lyrics, the vast array of instruments and the merging of different cultures and music styles takes you on a journey. In fact in my opinion, it takes you through a movie.
As soon as ‘L’idea’ begins, we are transported to a celebration. You can almost see opening credits scroll across your mind as the polka groove, with a twist of dissonance that I wonder may be influenced by the band “Madness”, ferries us to the start of a dynamic journey. That ferry being ‘Focu’. With a blend of instrumentals that reminds me of Irish jig and a splash of pirate shanties, you can almost feel the sea breeze on your face.
Now what’s a good movie without a chase scene, at least that’s what I thought when listening to ‘Scilla’. the Arabian twang of the woodwinds and brass left a scene from ‘Indiana jones’ running through an marketplace in the desert, whereas the saxophone brings images of an old 80’s cop movie. Wherever the chase is you can feel the ebb of flow in the music as if its switching between a serious run for their life, to a couple of benny hill moments to lighten the mood.
After our hypothetical characters receive what sounds to me like an inspiring speech in ‘Migrante’, we meet the femme fatale ‘Kalypso’. Lets set the stage, our pirates are swabbing the decks in unison when in walks Kalypso. Striding forward hips first as she goes from man to man dancing her seductive salsa. The changes in music during this number can create so many different scenes, including many solos and group numbers if you just let your imagination go with it. At one point the saxophone leads me to a tango between this hypothetical seductress and the pink panther, a scene I would pay to watch if I may add.
‘Odissea’ being the title track, my mind was already set up to meet our hero. Starting off with a running groove and splash of jazz, the title track actually brings our energies down a little. Perhaps to prepare us for the chapters to come. At this point in our feature, I felt the main character was telling his story to his men. When the song breaks down into a rap with a funky edge, it gives the music a dynamic which I believe actually pulls the album itself together.
Picture our aforementioned Kalypso in full belly dancing garb, seductively moving with a snake she’s charmed from it’s basket. Now picture her being constantly followed by the town idiot who is trying to profess his love to her. At least that’s the scene I got listening to ‘Argo’. And you know what? I absolutely love it. The theme of mythology is ever present in this album and this track brings me back to the days of Xena and Hercules. Of course this also leads beautifully to the next track as the difference in mood is so dynamic.
‘Stella Della Notte’, there are so many depths to this song and it makes it so versatile when it comes to interpretation. At first the sombre feel of the music takes your mind straight away from ‘Kalypso’. My interpretation of this song was a funeral procession through the streets of New Orleans, as we pay respects to a fallen comrade. With what sounds like excerpts from a eulogy, the instrumental tribute juxtaposes beautifully with the rest of the album. As the song goes on however, I felt the band should send a sample to the music directors at the BBC, as it instantly reminded me of cyber men and would be a lovely addition to Doctor Who.
The interpretations for this music are endless, subject to how you feel and what you like. For now however, I shall tell you the end my own tale told by the sounds of ‘Bandadriatica’. We enter the final scene in ‘Poseidon On The Rocks’. Seeking revenge for their fallen comrade, our hero and his men face off against the villains in a powerful and precisely choreographed fight scene, until we reach the face off between our hero and main villain, in a tango to the death. Caught in a death grip, the other characters circle around the duo locked in combat. The chanting vocals lend an inspiring swell that brings us back to the battle, even with a few bond like riffs floating in the background until we reach a freeze frame. The End.
Of course it’s not really over until the credits roll, which leads us to ‘Labbracio di Cariddi’. It’s spooky feel and it’s incorporation of the different elements throughout the album, including some impressive monk like chanting and the rock feel towards the end, makes this song the cherry on top of our musical sundae. As you hear the waves splashing in the background it’s almost as if we gain another scene at the end as the music fades to leave us with a nautical atmosphere.
One day I hope to understand the album as it was written, though there is something to be said about how music can open your mind to new unique narratives.
Words Kim Strettle