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Siani, Paolo, ft Nuova Idea: Faces With No Traces

Paolo Siani is the drummer for Italian progressive rock outfit Nuova Idea, and while this album - the second from Siani - is billed as a solo outing, with his band featured throughout and credited on the cover (although there are more than twenty musicians used in all), fans of the drummer's main outfit will surely be equally, if not doubly excited. The main-man himself composed all the tracks and wrote the lyrics, bringing a broad spectrum of ideas to the gently progressive fare you can find on Faces With No Traces. Roberto Tiranti and Laura Capretti share lead vocal duties ably and with all the lyrics written in English, it has to be said that Siani has done an accomplished and interesting job in that direction. He's equally skilled as a composer and more than able to bring together influences from, amongst others, the Middle East and European progressive folk scene as he crafts a gentle meander of an album that only really breaks out of a canter on a few occasions. The sixties-ish psychedelic pop of "Welcome Aboard", for example, an interesting little jaunt that trots along on a skipping keyboard line and cleverly layered vocals. Too often however, proceedings take a little too long to get fully underway, the lengthy and sedate song introductions, while atmospheric and skilled, reducing a little of the momentum the album builds up. The intention would appear to be to keep things enigmatic and mysterious and yet there's often a danger of it becoming just a little too uneventful, even while the structures and execution is never less than exemplary. You'd expect a track as boldly titled as "Rockstar" to pack a punch, but even here the upbeat but maybe too happy go lucky outlook takes a classy guitar solo and snappy beat, and slaps a slightly unwelcome grin on its face, the high pitched pop of cowbell adding to the overly cheerful nature.

To be fair if the main criticism an album can attract is that it holds possibly too much glee in its approach, then it can't be all that bad. Which through the moodier, Pink Floyd meets the blues of "Post War Saturday Echo" or nearly Alan Parsons Project goes Renaissance of "Three Things", proves to be exactly the case.

Faces With No Traces, while far from being as enigmatic as that title suggests, is still a worthy and well intentioned album. The main disappointment is that while everything it contains proves enjoyable in its own right, as a full listening experience, it's just too polite for it's own good.

Track Listing
1. No One's Born a Hero
2. Welcome Aboard
3. Black Angel's Claws
4. Free the Borders
5. Rockstar
6. Post War Saturday Echo
7. Three Things
8. E'riu

Added: March 31st 2017
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Black Widow Records
Hits: 1324
Language: english

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