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Oh my… what to listen to in the lounge these rainy and / or hot summer days ?

If you’re an avid Awa-news reader, which I bet you are, you may remember the interview of a guy named Franck Carducci, in the issue 19. This talented multi-instrumentist revealed secrets about his forthcoming album, that’s not forthcoming at all anymore, since it has been released in the spring of this very year 2011: “Oddity”.

Carducci told us he had been kinda pushed by Steve Hackett (the guy wearing big glasses in Genesis between 1971 and 1977) to record a solo album, after years of being part of the country-folk band Matis. Although “Oddity” is his first solo album to date, Franck Carducci is not exactly a newcomer: he’s haunting the live scene of Amsterdam, played in some 15 albums and opened a show for Mr Hackett last year. Some destinies are worse. 😀

The cover artwork is rather cute, full of symbols, and, similarly to the musical content: perfectly timeless.

Carducci brought his own musical universe, should I say his family, into his first effort. You’ll find some familiar names like John Hackett (brother of who you know), Larry Crockett (soulful drummer linked to another big glasses wearer: Elton John), Niko Leroy (the one who played bass on the “How Many ‘L’ Were In Your Name?” single from Awaken –although no one wears big glasses there), his former employer Yanne Matis and a buch of equally talented cats.

Talented is the first word that comes to mind: Carducci plays in another league and his musicianship is not far from the classical rigor. His superbly fluid piano playing being an obvious proof.
He shines at the bass too and provides some more than decent guitar parts at the same time. Add to this list a powerful and clear voice and you can make half of the prog scene musicians jealous of Mr Carducci’s skills.

But the most interesting point here seems to be his inspiration as a songwriter and arranger. Among the 5 songs that make the backbone of “Oddity”, there isn’t any trace of a filler, the songs have a density of ideas that makes it a valuable investment for your hi-fi, your mp3 player and of course your ears.
The music is so strong and inspired that even those who could be resistant to the prog-rock clichés are likely to love this album.

It’s easy to be stunned by the powerful changes of mood provided by “Achilles”, find your eyes becoming wet to the unexpected melancholia of “The Quind”, being caught in the spacey turmoil of “The Last Oddity” (with some tribute to David Bowie, Pink Floyd and Mr Kubrick –tell me, did he wear big glasses?) and having a blast with the guitar-driven “Alice’s Eerie Dream” (hat-trick to Michael Strobel). But maybe the most interesting tune is the catchy country folk “The Eyes Of Age” (featuring fellows from band Matis), which is a kind of sorbet between two main dishes. Delightful!

Now, there’s a weakness to that album, but luckily only in the bonus tracks: the cover of “Carpet Crawlers” is nice but nothing groundbreaking, thus sounds flat compared to the sparkling party of Carducci’s own songs; and the radio edit of “Alice’s Eerie Dream” is one more evidence that radio edits are the most insulting mixes that can be done to a song.

The lyrics are less appealing to me, despite Carducci’s will to eventually let Alice evolve in a neon-lit Wonderland. At least she finally got a job, which may pay her magic pills.

Conclusion: a strong, inspired and timeless effort, with skillful musicians and smart enough to fall into the usual prog-rock cliché. Worth bringing to the Lounge.

乾杯、

G.S.

Carducci home : http://www.franckcarducci.com/

Carducci Shop : http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/franckcarducci

日本の店 : http://www.gardenshedcd.com/best/index.html

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