Maxophone
La Fabbrica delle Nuvole


4.0
excellent

Review

by Sabrutin USER (37 Reviews)
February 23rd, 2017 | 54 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Hope springs eternal.

It seems we are living in a luxuriant period for the Italian progressive rock scene. Il Castello di Atlante is standing tall since 1974, Cherry Five released a new studio album after 40 years and Spettri have confirmed to be here to stay after their resurrection in 2011, originally formed in 1964 but fallen in hiatus during 1975. Lately RPI lovers have really been given many reasons to be elated. Someone up there is still feeling generous then, because Maxophone have just released their sophomore effort, a good 42 years having passed after the cult classic self-titled album was released.

Only two members were part of the founding line-up but, though there are definitely some key differences in sound, the Maxophone spirit is intact. For the genre, the songs aren't very long but they can still count on rich and eventful songwriting. Every instrument (voice included) has something to offer, harmoniously joining in a very focused sound in which Maxophone's trademark relatively heavy guitar-driven moments are seamlessly intertwined with bittersweet sections where melancholic vocals and keyboards lead the dreamy way. All of which is at times merried to a symphonic flavor, supported by the presence of two keyboardists -on occasion also swtching to acoustic guitars- and by the violin playing of the drummer. It's a sound that, as catchy as it can get, never leaves any doubts about the musicians' maturity and craftmanship.

The major change is the external influences from which the band draws from. On Maxophone there was a certain jazz vein which is now absent, traded for an overall gentler approach (no more swirling saxophones, sadly). In fact, La Fabbrica delle Nuvole is an album that can get quite intimate and folk-sounding in places. Furthermore the lyrics were penned by recently defunct poet Roberto Roversi, and are recited with notable emphasis giving birth to strong hooks. The shift in sound is adequately supported by an organic production job, making La Fabbrica a pleasure to listen to. The neat duration of 45 minutes just works as icing on the cake for an album this tight and memorable.

To say that Maxophone fans will surely like it too could be a little rushed because, even if the genre-bending attitude is there, it's a different beast. Familiar elements however are present, from the vocals to the reflective mood and incursions of cutting guitar riffs. Maxophone simply evolved and tried to adapt to the times, striking a good balance between old and fresh, creating something that's as progressive as it is accessible. Trading jazz for folky and poppy influences that better fit the Italy of 2017. Considering the circumstances La Fabbrica is almost too good to be true. For appreciators of RPI, or simply lovers of prog that don't mind foreign languages, checking this out should be a no-brainer.



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user ratings (5)
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Sabrutin
February 23rd 2017


6743 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Stream on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/6bxWVRubTVDQqoKrSfzeqO

Or stream the YouTube playlist: https://goo.gl/K4ZFhI



tl;dr: Not as jazzy as s/t but instead more folky and poppy, fitting Italy in 2017. That said it's still a Maxophone (riffz and stuff) album and it progs. I think I like this more than the debut, or at least I like them equally.

Hard to pick a highlight, but "Il matto e l'aquilone" from 2:10 onwards is ~heaven on earth~.

Check "La luna e la lepre" for an example of folky sound. It's a subtly variegated album.

The t/t is probably the most "stereotypically prog" piece. Don't be fooled by its beginning, fabbrica means factory so that's why there's that intro

sonictheplumber
February 23rd 2017


10985 Comments


What in the fuck??

CaptainDooRight
February 23rd 2017


4274 Comments


these guys are still doing music?

Digging: Hallas - Conundrum

Xenorazr
Contributing Reviewer
February 23rd 2017


1443 Comments


And people thought the wait between Wintersun albums was crazy...

Jethro42
February 23rd 2017


16005 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

There are two original members left, Alberto Ravasini, lead vocals, guitars, keyboards, and Sergio Lattuada, piano, keyboards and vocals. Can't wait to listen to this. Love very much the s/t album. Will read your review later.

Digging: Il Giardino Onirico - Apofenia

Friday13th
February 23rd 2017


7044 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Woa, new Maxophone? Heck yeah.

Jethro42
February 23rd 2017


16005 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

''Estate '41'' is so profound. Beautiful!... Loving the album so far. Couple of Gentle Giant' nod and wink here and there. The only skippable track so far is ''Il Passo del Ore''. Album kinda rivalize with their first and only other album when it comes to the song writing. Musicianship is also fantastic. Surprisingly prog enough (42 years later), but in a more modern approach.



Good job on the review, Sab.

e210013
February 24th 2017


2807 Comments


This is for me a great surprise to see this second album of Maxophone after so many years since they released their debut, which is one of the best albums in the Italian prog scene. But as you said, it seems we are living in a luxuriant period for the Italian progressive rock scene.So, I have great expectations about it and for what you wrote, I have even more.

About the review, nice work, Sab.

Jethro42
February 24th 2017


16005 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I dig what I heard after one listen, and the comparison with the debut album is hard to do. Sometimes I hear the same good old sounding, mostly in the electric guitar tone and in the vocals. No real jazzy feels left here, but great light atmospheres entertwined with more folk, rocker vibes. They even flirt with medieval in places. And it progs enough to satisfy any prog heads.

e210013
February 24th 2017


2807 Comments


Ok, I've no problem with changes in the music of any group, if it's still good. After all we are talking about prog rock. And as it name indicates all prog bands must evolve in their music.

Xenorazr
Contributing Reviewer
February 24th 2017


1443 Comments


Pos'd. Sounds intriguing, like something I might put on when going for a drive on a sunny day or something.

sonictheplumber
February 24th 2017


10985 Comments


Zogakdj

sonictheplumber
February 24th 2017


10985 Comments


If maxophone can still jam what's rush's excuse :D

Sabrutin
February 24th 2017


6743 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks for the positive votes.



I'm happy you like it Jethro, I was afraid it would seem a bit "fake" to other experienced prog listeners, especially when you can't count on the language to pull you in.



@sonic: go tell Neil!

sonictheplumber
February 24th 2017


10985 Comments


People like me are why neil wrote limelight

CusmanX1
February 24th 2017


375 Comments


Sweet review, pos'd.

This album seems to be great, even more than their first.
Also I really like how the tones of the cover remind the other one.

Sabrutin
February 24th 2017


6743 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks. I was thinking the same about the artwork. The debut artwork features the band on a boat, cool to see some kind of continuity seeing them standing there. As if they were travelling to this factory

Jethro42
February 24th 2017


16005 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

''I'm happy you like it Jethro, I was afraid it would seem a bit "fake" to other experienced prog listeners, especially when you can't count on the language to pull you in.''





While it's preferable to understand the lyrics, I don't consider it as a ''language barrier''. Foreign languages often add charm to songs. I listen to lots of Rock Progressivo Italiano without a problem. I listen to music in varied languages in fact. It's probably because I pay more attention to the structures, the arrangements and the melodies. That is also true for music in my native French. Lyrics are the last thing I pay attention to. The musical direction and intention are the first in importance, and it succeeded here.

menawati
February 24th 2017


16587 Comments


nice, pos

Sabrutin
February 24th 2017


6743 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

thanks!



"The musical direction and intention are the first in importance, and it succeeded here."

That's where my preoccupation comes from. I'm afraid the album will sound too poppy for some



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