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Banco del Mutuo Soccorso: Darwin!

Album Notes

Darwin! will remain Banco del Mutuo Soccorso's masterpiece. This album, the band's second, is the proud equal of Premiata Forneria Marconi's Per Un Amico and Le Orme's Felona e Sorona in the Italian progressive rock hall of fame. In Darwin!, every promise made by Banco's eponymous debut was realized. Vittorio Nocenzi's writing has flourished into complex songs blending Italian songwriting, bel canto, and progressive rock. The arrival of guitarist Rodolfo Maltese crystallized the band's luxurious sound, all topped by Francesco Di Giacomo's operatic vocals. The majestic "L'Evoluzione" opens the album, providing some of the best moments ever recorded by this band (along with "Canto Nomade per un Prigioniero Politico"). "La Conquista Della Posizione Eretta" ("The Conquest of the Wrong Position") reproduces the same pattern as "Metamorphosi" from the first album: a frenetic instrumental theme, scaled down toward the end to let room for a very emotional verse. "La Danza de Grandi Rettili" is a rare jazzy number. Di Giacomo shines on "750,000 Anni Fa...L'Amore?," a heart-wrenching ballad much closer to Italian pop music than progressive rock. The album comes to an end with "Ed Ora la Domando Tempo al Tempo," a short piece inspired by merry-go-round music. The original version of the album bears a cover with a pocket watch. Never satisfied with the sound quality of the original tapes, the band re-recorded the whole album in 1991 and issued it with blue cover artwork. Purists turned their back on this new version, but it is actually very well performed, even though it has lost the vintage 1970s Italian flavor. The original Darwin! was eventually also reissued on CD. ~ François Couture


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