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by Carsten Busch

As some of you may recall, Periferia Del Mondo’s debut topped my list of best albums in 2000 with their fabulous take on Italian progressive rock. Needless to say that I was looking forward to their new piece of work, and to say it right away: they maintain their high level of songwriting and playfulness, while becoming even more varied along the way. The album contains 14 songs, varying in length from 39 seconds to over nine minutes, taking you through an array of styles from (almost) electronic music (on the short opening piece), to progressive jazz-rock with strong violin play and that typical kind Italian symphonic prog with emotional vocals and delicate melodies. Overall it seems that the jazz-rock influence in the band’s music has grown, especially on the first half of the album, while the second is a bit more symphonic oriented - but this is just a rough general rule.
Vocals are again in Italian and English, and I must say that both are done in a fine way. It’s funny that the English vocals remind me of Steve Winwood, like on “Can stop” which is a piece that starts with some quirky Herbie Hancock-like jazz-rock keyboards, then enters an uplifting mood and rhythm which makes your foot tap along, while the vocal parts give a reference to Traffic, and there’s a fabulous violin part towards the end, like Jean Luc Ponty came to play with the band. The instrumental next piece, “Espresso (parte 2)”, goes into an entirely different direction with a strongly classical influenced style, opening with harpsichord and flute, as if the piece was written and performed in the late 18th Century, but only to speed up halfway through into a symphonic rock mood à la Kansas (organ and violin) - but with a twist, since the saxophone also assumes a leading role and does this with an oriental flair. “Di foglie e di acqua” then ventures the territories of ELP and Triumvirat with dark-ish organ and dominant keys.
Despite the mentioned names (and probable influences), Periferia Del Mondo never really sounds like any of these bands - it’s rather that they take elements and stylists and somehow craft them into a sound of their own, which doesn’t sound fragmented or in-cohesive, despite its great variation. Need I really say that this comes highly recommended?
Carsten Busch