Emotional Tattoos

PFM (Premiata Forneria Marconi)

It’s an undisputed fact among prog lovers that PFM is arguably the greatest musical export to ever come out of Italy. And one element fans have come to rely on from the group is their chameleon-like adaptability to different sounds and styles on every album they release. The band runs the full gamut: spacey jazz, baroque-infused folk, moody dissonance, and straight on crescendo-building rock included. One listen to the entirety of Per Un Amico or Photos Of Ghosts proves that in spades.

On their 2017 release Emotional Tattoos, catchiness is ever-present, it just happens to be that the songs are more straightforward than what is usually expected from the band. Softer in several areas but enjoyable in both English and Italian, the double disc set certainly conveys strong emotionality. And while it’s a wholly different experience from the band’s seminal earlier work, it’s still a worthwhile listening experience in and of itself.

“We’re Not an Island” (“Il Regno”) is gentler in tone as lead singer Franz Di Cioccio offers an almost affectionate delivery, while “Morning Freedom” (“Oniro”) boasts terrific keyboard melodies from Alessandro Scaglione. Most tracks on this album are built around tremendous hooks – “So Long” (“Mayday”) and “I’m Just a Sound” (“Dalla Terra alla Luna”) included. While “Sound” recalls elements of Genesis’ “Dancing With The Moonlit Knight,” the instrumental “Freedom Square” could easily have come out of the ELP playbook.

Collectively, Emotional Tattoos boasts a sound and execution that appeals to listeners of modern day Saga or Deep Purple. It’s not the most eclectic or accessible in the group’s collective catalog but it’s a great testament — in two languages — as to why PFM is a still-shining progressive diamond.

~ Ira Kantor

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