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Music Review

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I Dreamed of Electric Sheep


Artist: Premiata Forneria Marconi
Label: InsideOut Music
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 22 October 2021

InsideOut Music (Century Media Records) releases I Dreamed of Electric Sheep (a reference to Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep novel, which was filmed as Blade Runner), by Italian Progressive Rock band Premiata Forneria Marconi. The group was formed in 1970 and was the first Italian band to have success internationally. Current members include Franz Di Cioccio on drums and percussion and lead/backing vocals, Patrick Djivas on bass and programming, Marco Sfogli on electric guitar, Lucio Fabbri on violin and keyboards, Alessandro Scaglione on piano and keyboards, Roberto Gualdi on additional drums, and Alberto Bravin on additional keyboards and vocals...

Track List: 'Worlds Beyond', 'Adrenaline Oasis', 'Let Go', 'City Life', 'If I Had Wings', 'Electric Sheep', 'Daily Heroes', 'Kindred Souls', 'Transhumance', and 'Transhumance Jam'.

Although I have given the titles in English, I was furnished with both Italian and English versions of the album. As I’ve discovered on a few previous occasions, I prefer the native language version, because unless the songs originate in English they lose something in translation and the lyrics end up being shoehorned into spaces not designed to fit the music. I may not understand the language but if it sounds good I’m happy. And If I want to hear the poetry of the songs there is always the English version. It’s certainly a great idea to include them both.

The opener is an instrumental anyway, to showcase the band’s musical attributes. It begins like a rudimentary concerto, the substance of which is joined by a sequential guitar centrepiece and keyboards in the manner of separate piano, synthesiser and Hammond organ tunes. It’s followed by a track with pretty much the same structure, except this one has smooth Power Metal style vocals. The overall sound is like a Progressive Rock variant of the Epic Metal Italian giants Rhapsody (now operating as the two bands Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody, and Rhapsody of Fire). There are Classical influences, snatches of Folk and elements of Emerson, Lake & Palmer – particularly in the keyboards.

Some of the tracks begin with a mellow, almost Easy Listening feel, before purposefully losing the refinement with short runaway moments. The vocals are comfortable listening. 'City Life' is a particular highlight with a more all-encompassing sound and more weight and variance in the vocals. I’m not a fan of Prog Rock, but this comes without the pretentious and annoying ‘clever’ meandering. Ironically, the biggest load of nonsense on offer here is 'Electric Sheep' – presumably the title track. I’ve just realised that some of the piano pieces are in the style of 1970s Rick Wakeman (i.e. The Myths and Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, and The Six Wives of Henry VIII). The most fun comes with the last two tracks, which are in essence one; it’s a nice, let-your-hair-down impromptu jam, with the keyboards in particular shining.


Ty Power

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