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Calegari, Lucio: Electric Swan

I'm always wary of solo albums by artists who've made their names as part of successful bands: they very often fail to live up to the expectation of their fans. Take away the synergy of creative musical input that you get in a band and, often, the "solo" artist is left looking a bit vulnerable. Of course, I hear you shout, a "solo" album is never really truly a "solo" album, because along come the artist's mates to help him along, but I sense that they generally turn up without their creative hats, leaving it to the "star" to light the way.

Fortunately, I have to report straight away that Wicked Minds's Lucio Calegari doesn't fall into that trap, producing in Electric Swan and electric-guitar driven album that is full of pace and verve and that should satisfy many fans of the instrument's use in heavy rock. Calegari's performance is perhaps not the flashiest or most technically accomplished in the world but, much more importantly as far as I'm concerned, is perfectly integrated into the demands of the compositions and of their musicality. There are no excursions into technical over-indulgence here (yawn....), just good old-fashioned guitar playing with plenty of ba**s and some great songs.

Calegari's friends on Electric Swan are Paolo Negri on Hammond organ and synths; Ricky Lovotti on drums; Enrico Garilli and Edoardo Giovanelli on bass; and on some tracks Sophya Baccini and Luca Rancati on vocals. It sounds like a crowd but have no fear, the star of this show is Calegari's guitar. The album comprises new songs (some instrumental), two ten-year old Wicked Minds tracks that were never recorded and three covers: Tommy Bolin's "Teaser", Ruth Copeland's "Your Love Been So Good to Me" and Metallica's "Creeping Death". It all works well together: Calegari has not fallen into the trap of being swept away by his own enthusiasm and making this an over-long album (although I must admit that I would have dropped one of the four instrumentals) and, overall, it has a strong, unified feel.

It gets off to a good start with "In the Hush of Daze's" strong riff and hard-driving electric guitar, the Hammond providing just enough of a supporting role to be both noticeable and effective: good pace, it's a strong opener. The title track follows on in fine style: pace, driving guitar, melody, plus a pretty and wistful solo to see us out. Then it's the turn of the first of the covers - a fine rendition of "Your Love Been So Good To Me" with a really sultry vocal from one of his female friends, very reminiscent of Grace Slick to my ears. 'S good!

The pace cuts back slightly for "Eleventh Angel", the first of three instrumentals, and is then raised again for "beyond the Rising Sun", which gets heavy after a quiet intro. Calegari's friends help to make the second instrumental "Calibro 9" an interesting piece and "Crossing the Line" gets the pulse racing again with some catchy and pacey heavy guitar driven rock.

"Redwitch", the third instrumental, is probably the least convincing track for me and it's followed, perhaps oddly, by two covers out of the last three songs to close the album. I say "oddly" because Calegari's own material has been so strong that really there was no need for covers. I guess in a sense it's a tribute to his own heroes and, also, it may help to sell a few more albums! Both covers are fine renditions - I can't get the hook from "Teaser" out of my mind - and sandwich the last instrumental, "Apollo's Dream", in which Paolo Negri plays a big part on his Hammond. The album closes as strongly as it began.

It's a strong album of good, old-fashioned guitar-driven and guitar heavy rock. It plays well as an album, the songs fit and flow well together. Well done Calegari for not falling into the trap of so many "solo" artists before him, A widget short of four-and-a-half stars.

Track Listing:-
1) In the Hush of Daze (5:01)
2) Electric Swan (5:24)
3) Your Love Been So Good to Me (3:53)
4) Eleventh Angel (3:40)
5) Beyond the Rising Sun (7:20)
6) Calibro 9 (3:51)
7) Crossing the Line (6:00)
8) Redwitch (5:50)
9) Teaser (4:17)
10) Apollo's Dream (6:50)
11) Creeping Death (10:20)

Added: February 19th 2009
Reviewer: Alex Torres
Related Link: Calegari's
Hits: 2235
Language: english

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