Tom Hayes 4-April-2001 Scolopendra

A fun one-off (though the band pointlessly got back together in the mid 90s) from the classic era of Italian progressive music. There really seems to be no point to this, other than to allow lead vocalist and keyboard extraordinaire Patrizio Alluminio to lend his name to the band and noodle around on his organ, mellotron, piano, electric piano and harmonium. But then there is an unrelenting charm about Scolopendra. The songs are more suited for the late 1960's psychedelic scene than the 1972 Italian progressive rock movement. The keyboards are way out of place here; Patrizio plays with a distinctive jazzy style that hints there is a talented player trapped in the wrong field of music. Best of all, some of the songs will change completely midstream without any reason at all. Sure the Italians are famous for this, and the abrupt transition usually makes sense in retrospect. Here, it doesn't. Not at all. And it's a beautiful thing to behold. Check the break on "La Natura e L'Universo". Pure brilliance. Or incompetence. I'm going with the latter and will condescendingly call it 'quaint'. "Thrilling" is another example of Gli Alluminiogeni's random songwriting ability. For true drop dead belly laughs, one must scan the back cover for the threads these dudes are wearing. Two of the band members cut the shag carpet out of Mom's living room and decided to construct evening wear out of it. And the proof is there for the ages. No, Gli Alluminogeni are not going to win Jeopardy against Museo Rosenbach or Semiramis or even the Partridge Family for that matter. Ah, what the hey, I still like this album. Cannot rationalize my feelings, just there is no other album that sounds quite like it. And a good listen for organ freaks like myself. There are even a few good guitar riffs. Psychedelic organ music from Italy is a rare breed indeed. The CD is susceptible to corrosion (not that anyone would notice), so maybe the best route is to find the Fonit-Cetra gatefold reissue; unless, of course, shelling $400 out for an original of this beaut is satisfying.

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