Venetian enigma returns with another compelling glimpse of his soul.
This is an album that has to be experienced in its full-blooded and lengthy whole. It’s almost shamanic in its hypnotic attack, combining as it does gnarly guitars and droning shapes with acoustic shards of light whilst all the time reflecting the broken-voiced Italian lyricism of this mysterious person known as Krano. Seemingly an idiot savant of roots music existing, if the sleeve notes are to be believed, only to make this strange music. In this case vaguely inspired by the Italian peace activist Alexander Langer, though not an Italian speaker myself, it could frankly be inspired by a sweet looking puppy at Pets At Home. Although that seems unlikely given the heart rending screams on ‘Vaslin’ the second track of the album to feature a beautiful cacophony of guitar straight out of the Crazy Horse song book complete with feedback, fuzz and grunge as well as the disarming melody. ‘Colpet’ is a majestic, funeral march featuring keys and guitar. It is stately and righteous and when the cracked vocals come in it doesn’t matter that Italian is not your tongue, it sounds right. This could be Sparklehorse, such is the depth of both emotion and melodicism attached to a lament.
As the album continues Sparklehorse becomes a touchstone, perhaps without some of the humour evident in his canon, but stylistically there is a sense of darkness seemingly unleavened by frippery or joy but existing within the melody and particularly the vocal delivery. Some tracks are almost too sombre, too gothic; ‘In Tea Cheba’ perhaps, is too abrasive and raw and yet an important part of the whole of the album. The following track ‘Moron’ seems to be a sweet palate cleanser hewn from the same tree until the haunted vocals enter and twist it into something upsetting and troubling. ‘Soa’ is as close as we get to a traditional song, twin guitars and a swooning melody with hints of soul songs long lost on a Wigan dance floor and a drum pattern that reeks of ‘Albatross,’ Fleetwood Mac’s cornerstone.
This is in many ways an extraordinary album. It has a hypnotic quality that is both beguiling and at times repellent. It charms and it offends. There is no doubt an original artist at work here and that is to be celebrated. Buy, if you dare. Wish I knew what he was singing about though.
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