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Pandora: Ten Years Like In A Magic Dream…

Pandora is an Italian progressive rock band with beginnings that date back to 2005 when Claudio Columbo got together with Beppe Colombo and soon added Corrado Grappeggia. Over the years the band has released four studio albums with the latest being Ten Years Like In A Magic Dream.

The players are Emoni Viruet (lead and backing vocals), Corrado Grappeggia (lead and backing vocals, keyboards), Claudio Colombo (drums, percussion, bass, electric and acoustic guitars, Puerto Rican cuatro, keyboards) and Beppe Colombo (keyboards).

This is really an excellent album for a number of reasons. First the melodies are strong throughout, even though the music is complex and constantly morphing into different textures and sounds. This brings me to my second point. This is complex stuff but these Italians pull it off without sounding too self-indulgent. Next is the wonderful use of keyboards and choirs. The heavy Moog work definitely brings in a retro prog element which I find to be a big plus. With three keyboardists in the band, it should not be surprising this is a keyboard heavy album. Retro prog with heavy and light moments and a constantly changing sound palette.

Apparently this is the first time the band has sung in English and I have to say the lead vocals may take some time to sink in. Grappeggia doesn't have a great voice but he does use it effectively never pushing his vocals to the limit. The more times I listened I started to appreciate his style more and even found it slightly endearing. The female vocals are more child-like and are in a higher register.

The first track "Always And Everywhere" begins with dramatic keyboards and choirs. Guitar is added for a bit of crunch and as the entire band ramps it up the sound does get more intense and a solid groove settles in. Lighter and darker shades of colour and even a jazzy section with bass and piano blends in seamlessly showing these guys and gal have some serious talent. The second track "The Way You Are" showcases some wild string bending with the keyboards having a more ethereal tone. My only gripe is the track ends too abruptly so as to be a bit jarring. Acoustic arpeggios, excellent Moog work and numerous tempo changes highlight the complex yet melodic "Turin 03.02.1974" while "Drunken Poets Drama" features heavier organ and guitar. Again, the music never settles in on one tempo preferring to change as the music develops heavy and lighter themes.

The album ends with four covers beginning with Genesis' "Second Home by the Sea" and it is excellent. The catchy guitar and keyboard rhythms reeled me in and the myriad of keyboard sounds held me with rapt attention. Their cover of Marillion's "Man of a Thousand Faces" is absolutely gorgeous with a fabulous vocal arrangement and lovely instrumentation. Innovative versions of Yes's "Ritual" and ELP's "Lucky Man", both with imaginative arrangements and high drama round out the package. The female vocals on "Lucky Man" are excellent.

If you are into Italian Progressive Rock look no further than Ten Years Like In A Magic Dream. With a 4.5 star rating Pandora comes highly recommended!

Track Listing:
Fragments Of The Present
1. Always and Everywhere – Overture: Fantasia in Pandora Major (8:40)
2. The Way You Are (7:23)
3. Turin 03.02.1974 (7:52)
4. Drunken Poets Drama (8:21)
Temporal Transition:
5. Passaggio di Stagioni – Lamenti d'Inverno – Canto di Primavera (B.M.S.)
Fragments Of The Past:
6. Second Home By The Sea (Genesis) (8:51)
7. Man Of A Thousand Faces (Marillion) (7:21)
8. Ritual – Part 2 (Yes) (11:16)
9. Lucky Man (EL&P) (6:25)

Added: May 22nd 2017
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Band's Official Site
Hits: 2179
Language: english

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