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AltaVia - 'Kreosote' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     March 25, 2018    
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The vocals are certainly one of the highlights of their style, with the male/female mix being extremely agreeable.

There's always that air of trepidation when I receive albums by bands who sing in English when it's not their mother tongue. I admit, I have a significant issue with some, but bizarrely not all, heavily accented singing voices, finding many to be extremely distracting. However, I am pleased to say that when it comes to AltaVia I need not have worried because, despite their Italian heritage, it's certainly not immediately obvious from their delivery and even on the rare occasion when it appears, it doesn't offend. Indeed, the vocals are certainly one of the highlights of their style, with the male/female mix being extremely agreeable. The fact that most of the band members sing also allows extra depth to the vocal arrangements. At times, the vocals make me think of Moon Safari.

It's been four years since their unusually titled debut 'Girt Dog' (which I've not heard) but based on what's here, I probably need to check it out. Formed in 2008, the band features Andrea Stagni (keys & vocals), Marcello Bellina (drums & vocals), Mauro Monti (guitars & vocals), Giuliano Vandelli (bass) and Betty Copeta (vocals). The material is nicely diverse and this actually makes the band difficult to pigeonhole.

Opening number 'About To Fade' is a good example of the band's skills, as across its twelve minutes it weaves its way through various phases. A gentle start with the voice to fore gradually builds as instruments are added. A decidedly Rush guitar pattern underpins the second, heavier portion of the song before moving into Neo-Prog territory and some X-Files style synth work. The guitar solo is an absolute delight.

'So Far So Good' has a kind of Steely Dan Funky vibe while 'Road To Nowhere' sits in the Neo-Prog genre, sitting alongside the likes of Jadis. If I had to choose just one track as an album highlight it would have to be 'The Storm', where a wonderful piano theme is joined by a sensational vocal from Copeta – it's right up there with the brilliant Panic Room. A terrific arrangement sees a male voice added after the first verse and the chorus is an instant earworm. The opening instrumental section of 'You Are The Sailor' puts me in mind of IQ, while 'Paradox' starts softly before exploding in a more modern style. 'Love Is Worth A Try' has a terrific melody too.

Gary Marshall

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