Greg Northrup    3-November-2001 Cherry Five

Cherry Five consisted of vocalist Tony Tartarini and drummer Carlo Bordini. The duo were assisted by members of Goblin, who provided musical accompaniment for the compositions. Musically, they play in a style that is extremely derivative of Yes, with an Italian progressive influence. Instrumentally, aside from their fairly unoriginal style, the group is top notch, playing fast, perfectly executed, guitar runs; sweeping mellotron; catchy organ lines; and versatile and active drums and bass. Claudio Simonetti's keyboards really standout in particular. Vocals are somewhat of a problem, not only that they are delivered in a heavily accented English, but the guy just doesn't have a very appealing voice and adds nothing to the songs in any case.

Highlights include the very good "Picture of Dorian Gray", which exhibits some of the best of what the group can do. "The Swan is a Murderer Part 1" actually has the best vocal parts on the whole album, over a choppy, aggressive Hammond riff. "Oliver" is predominantly instrumental, so has something going for it right off the bat, featuring some excellent themes. Lowlights include the poor closer "My Little Cloud Land" which, as I'm sure you can infer from the song title, features some really embarrassing lyrics. Still, as usual the music makes up for them to some extent, and closes the album out with grand instrumental flourish.

Extremely well-played material, despite the vocals. Overall, I wouldn't cite this album as being definitive or essential. It's certainly enjoyable, but I can't really say I'd pull this out to listen to very often. Aside from some nice playing, the album is a tad derivative, and doesn't have all that much to offer that I wouldn't be able to find elsewhere. Fans of Italian symphonic should have plenty of other gems to unearth before this one.

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