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FRANK CARDUCCI Oddity (2011)

Frank Carducci

If I told you that this album from Dutch multi-instrumentalist Franck Carducci had tracks based on the Trojan War, Bowie's 'Major Tom', Lewis Carroll's 'Alice Through The Looking Glass' together with a cover of Genesis' 'Carpet Crawlers', you would probably be getting a 'pretentious twaddle' alert ringing in your ears.

But fear not - despite the aforementioned caveats, this is a rather fine progressive rock album. Yes, the influences are there for all to see - Marillion, Yes, Pink Floyd and, especially, Genesis - but Carducci has skillfully managed to avoid the pitfalls of blatant plagiarism to deliver a satisfying, contemporary and above all musical tour de force.

Add to this the master stroke of roping in Steve Hackett's brother John to provide some very tasteful flute on the fifteen minute opening track 'Achilles' and the circle is complete.

Everything you could wish to hear on a classic prog rock album is here - swelling synths and Hammond, soaring electric and tasteful acoustic guitars, a snatch of violin here, a piece of mellotron there - plus the real bonus (rare on these things) of meaningful lyrics, well sung by accentless vocalists.

Hard to pick a high point with so much good stuff around, but the opener 'Achilles' and 'Alice's Eerie Dream' probably steal the plaudits. Being the longest two tracks they have the time to breathe and include a heady mix of styles and tempo throughout. That said, the 'Carpet Crawlers' cover is eminently passable.

It is so easy these days to dismiss so much good music as being a mere pastiche of the music we all found so exciting in our early days. But let's face it, those days (and bands) are gone and if people like Franck Carducci are talented enough and willing to carry the torch of today's progressive rock, then surely it doesn't matter if aspects of it sound a little familiar?


Review by Alan Jones

Alan sequences "The Eclectic Mix" on the third Sunday of every month on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio.


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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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