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Mary Newsletter - 2004 - "L'Attenzione Debole"
TRACK LIST: 1. Integro 6:42 2. Il Colpo e la Croce 6:36 3. Peccato 3:01 4. Illusione & Delusione 1:04 5. La Pace 7:13 6. Morte di un Moderato 4:03 7. Step Forward 6:47 8. Coming into LA 5:13 9. Nothing But the Net 3:25 10. In Fondo 4:20 All tracks: by Mary Newsletter. Produced & engineered by Olivotto. LINE-UP: Davide Pisi - electric & acoustic guitars; percussion Massimo Necchi - bass & electric guitars, e-bow Marco Olivotto - keyboards & piano Marco Gusberty - keyboards & piano Mario Valentino - drums; acoustic guitar; vocals Andrea Piccolini - vocals
Prolusion. "L'Attenzione Debole" is the fourth album by MARY NEWSLETTER and is my first acquaintance with the creation of this Italian band. I know the titles of their previous albums: "Nuovo Lettere" (1996), "Distratto dal Sole" (1998) and "Del Perdutto Coraggio" (2000), but I haven't heard any of them.
Analysis. Although performed with traditional Rock instruments and, thus, being made up of familiar structures, this album is, nevertheless, too unusual to get into it upon the first spin. Besides, having revisited it two times running, I am still not quite certain that I'll be able to properly describe all of its particular qualities. The conception of materially minded compositional thinking seems to be little known to Mary Newsletter. The genre sources that the band relies on are recognizable, but their music as such is highly innovative and more than merely often defies a precise definition. So please be aware: the traditional terms that I am going to appeal to aren't eminently suitable to reproduce the true essence of the matter, at least in most cases. Two out of the ten tracks are instrumentals, though one of them: Illusion & Delusion was just conventionally separated from Pecato. I came to this conclusion not because the pieces fluidly flow from one to another, without pause. They are united by the same compositional outline and sound just like one monolithic work, and what is more, there is the peculiar Hammond organ solo that runs all through each of them. By the way, these two are the only tracks here with the Hammond being part of the show and are closer to what is usually regarded as a classic symphonic Art-Rock. The principal representatives of keyboards on this album are the Wurlitzer (or the like) piano and traditional synthesizers. Regarding the latter: their parts on the other instrumental, Morte di un Moderato, appear only as a background and are hardly audible actually. The music is a rather harsh, eclectic guitar Art-Rock and is the primary style of the album. However, in pure form it exists only here, while being enriched by elements of symphonic Art-Rock, provided by the parts of synthesizer, piano and, sometimes, those of acoustic guitar, on most of the remaining songs: Integro, Step Forward, Nothing But the Net and In Fondo. The piano gains the upper hand over the other instruments on Il Colpo e la Croce and La Pace. These are free of heavy elements, but are still highly diverse, which is partly due to the massive Jazz-Fusion-related arrangements, unavailable on the other compositions. Coming to LA is the one with the more or less predictable musical events. It begins as electronic music, but later transforms into classic Stoner / Psychedelic Rock. That said, the entire album has a rather strong psychedelic feel to it, and I didn't point this factor out until now just because the psychedelia is usually in the air, but isn't part of the music as such. Finally, it needs to be mentioned that the lyrics of the songs titled in English, and also those in La Pace, represent short verses in Italian and in English alternating each other. Having considered all the pros and cons of this strange trick, I'll dare to recommend the band to never play games with two languages, applying just one of them (Italian, of course). Nevertheless, this minor flaw just cannot mar the overall brilliance of this material.
Conclusion. The product of genuine inspiration, "L'Attenzione Debole" is musically one of the most atypical and, hence, fresh sounding Art-Rock-related albums I've heard in recent years. Mary Newsletter is a hugely mature band, whose musical horizons are much broader than those we usually expect from a band working in the field of vintage progressive genres. Heartily recommended! (Top-20)
VM: December 15, 2004
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