FEM: Sulla Bolla Di Sapone
Italian Prog bands are hardly unusual, the country known over the decades for having a vibrant, varied scene of no little quality. The latest outfit to introduce themselves from this location is FEM (short for Forza Elettromotrice), as they offer up their debut album Sulla Bolla Di Sapone. Preferring to go down the short sharp route, the fifteen songs here range from, short for Prog, two minutes in length to just over six. However if that all sounds rather perfunctory, then be assured that the title of this album translates into On The Bubble and it is a concept piece based on the book of the same name by German philosopher Kurd Lasswitz. Now that's more Prog-like!
Musically this band, who have been together in varying line-ups since 2007, are an assured blend of the main players in 70s Prog, with Genesis and Yes strong touching points; the former through intricate piano motifs, the latter through harmonious guitar forays and soaring, layered vocals. Yet through the bright keyboard excursions from Alberto Citterio, many a Neo outfit is also touched upon and as you might expect, there are also strong flavours across the album of the many exponents of Italian Prog to grace our ears over the years. Simple though it may sound, it's a difficult concoction to expertly bring together and it is to FEM's credit that they appear more like assured veterans than a band offering us their first full length release.
Obviously, the lyrics are sung in Italian, yet the sheer expressive nature and sharp tone in Massimo Sabbatini vocals, makes them a constant reason for delight, the singer bringing a true energy to music far from short on the vibrancy quota. Try on "Incontro Con I Saponiani" to encounter this album at its fieriest, a flurry of notes building round a staccato riff that studiously avoids tipping into "Metal" and savour the flute, classically styled piano and acoustic guitar of "Riflessioni" for a taste of FEM completely taking their foot off the gas. "Nella Citta" providing evidence that they are equally as comfortable sitting somewhere in between.
Guitarist Paolo Colombo shines throughout, his deft ability to dart from subtlety to ferocity a joy, but then not mentioning drummer Emanuele Borsati, or bassist Marco Buzzi would do the pair an injustice; each of the musicians in FEM being of the highest calibre. However it is the combination of the parts that makes Sulla Bolla Di Sapone as convincingly enjoyable as it is. Hopefully it is only the beginning of a long and fruitful journey for FEM, I intend to be there every step of the way with them to find out.
1. Il Giardino delle Consuetudini
3. Microgen (Parte 2)
4. Il Mondo Bianco Opaco
6. Incontro con i Saponiani
7. Nella Cittą
8. Il Signore dei Pensanti
9. Processo alla Veritą
11. Il Peso della Conoscenza
12. Un Viaggio Lungo un Istante
14. Ritorno al Giardino
15. E il Mondo Scoppierą
Added: July 21st 2014
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: FEM online
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