A record that in the right time, place and mood has a lot to offer.
The name Angus Mc Og conjures up images of a cartoon character from a Scottish newspaper; in fact the Daily Record ran an Angus Og strip up to the mid-1980s. In this instance it’s the alter ego of Antonio Tavoni, a singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from Emilia Romagna, Italy. Tavoni hails from Modena and the album was recorded in Parma.
‘Cirrus’ is Angus Mc Og’s fourth album and the second in this incarnation which sees Tavoni and Luca di Mori building on 2018’s ‘Beginners’ to present the eight songs that comprise ‘Cirrus’. On the album, Tavoni (Vocals, Guitars, Piano, Harmonium) and Di Mira (Bass, Synths, Electric Piano) are joined by Enrico Pasini (trumpet, saxhorn, piano, electric piano, organ) and Luca Torreggiani (drums, percussion) while Tavoni’s fellow member of Modena’s Colletivo Amigdala, Fulvia Gasparini contributes vocals.
The title track and opener features a piano line built around by strings and horns while Tavoni’s vocal hovers the lyric. ‘Lou’ opens with picked guitar lines before keys and drums join following a similar repeated theme to the previous track. There is a breathier vocal and a melody redolent of late 60s pop-psych. ‘Currents’ highlights a vocal which is half talking, half singing over an acoustic guitar and harmonium base.‘Parts’ ups the tempo with a steady drumbeat before the piano adds for the verse and then electric guitar rolls in for the chorus which has an indie rock feel.
Side 2 begins with ‘Chances’ and returns to the piano-led tunes with some slightly mournful horns and vocal and is turn followed by ‘Sirens’ with a mystical nautical lyric and atmospheric music. Unexpectedly the following track ‘Communist Party Party’ is a raucous rocker developing from a keyboard tone / Italian spoken word intro with tongue-in-cheek verse followed by a flat-out good-time chorus. It runs for almost 7 minutes leaving the listener well up.
From which Angus Mc Og drop the tempo into the 9-minute plus ‘Say My Name’ closer which is underpinned by a series of overlaid themes and a multi-layered vocal choral effect. Then around 2 minutes from the end it develops into an ambient soundscape with shimmering keyboards.
The press release describes the album as “eight songs that arise from a Folk Rock heart traveling between Americana, Art Rock and Indie Rock”. To these ears, ‘Communist Party Party’ excepted, it felt a lot closer to the softer end of Van Der Graaf Generator’s music with a taste of Dan Bejar’s artier Destroyer outings. And very European – in a good way – with quite a few folk and classical reference points.
A record that in the right time, place and mood has a lot to offer even if it belongs on the edge of the Americana world.