I love an album that is so many things at once. A style of music that is difficult to categorise makes listening much more enjoyable and this offering from Italian Marco ‘Piaggio’ Piaggesi is a belter!
Part sixties beat combo, part soul, part Motown, part dancehall and part Latin rhythm, the music is broad in its scope but somehow manages to bring all these influences together to produce something that is entertaining and, dare I say it, fun.
There is a feeling of the vintage about it, I’m not sure if this is the production or the influence of the musicians but the whole album feels as if it were recorded in a dingy studio in the Midlands in the early 1970s. This is by no means a criticism, it’s another layer to an already impressive lineup of musicians that handle the different styles with ease.
The words ‘Northern Soul’ is passed around when describing this band. Now, my knowledge of Northern Soul is restricted to Fred Perry polo shirts and people sprinkling talcum powder on the dance floor, but I understand it spread out from the sixties Mod scene and took in the American soul music of the time. This album definitely fits this description.
It’s a difficult album not to like on immediate listen, it’s catchy, memorable and has enough variation to hit a note with people outside of the genre. Having three different lead singers help, being able to switch from girl-next-door to scorned lover to Mod-about-town is a huge advantage and the band are superb. A stone wall rhythm section produces strong beats and ocean-deep lows, the pitch-perfect brass section, twangling guitar and a fat-sounding organ underpin everything that is so good about this album. We visit sixties Motown pop on ‘Hang On’, spend a few minutes in the Gospel church on ‘By Then (I’ll Be Gone)’, steer pretty close to Jeff Lynne’s ELO on ‘The Facts of Life’ and even take a trip to Santana’s neighbourhood on ‘Se Llama Boogaloo’ which has an impressive Latin feel. Yet even with all of these influences, it still feels connected and totally committed to its job, which is to make a fine album that people can dance to.