Alternative rock band Verdena has released their first album since 2007’s “Requiem” (one of my all time favorite records). I thought Verdena might struggle to outdo themselves – but I was happily proven wrong upon first hearing “Wow.”
The 27 song album gives the listener an abundance of rich, complex, interesting music to absorb. So much so that it’s difficult for me to pick ‘favorites’ while still paying homage to the effort as a whole.
While the piano driven “Scegli Me” is a nice opening track, I feel like it’s just an appetizer leading up to the meatier course, “Loniterp,” a delightful hybrid of modern European rock and eccentric change-ups. “Per Sbaglio” delivers just what I love so much about Verdena – classic rock influences with a dreamy, intoxicating melody.
The first single off the album, “Razzi Arpia Inferno e Fiamme,” shines in its seeming simplicity. Its beautiful, if not haunting, harmony is enveloped in lush acoustic guitar and percussion.
Reminiscent of the Beatles “The White Album,” there are a myriad of smartly placed gems like “Adoratorio,” “Il nulla di Oi” and “Lui Gareggia.” Often landing at around 2:00 minutes each, they tantalize and tease your ears, priming your pallet for the next track.
One of my favorites, “Castelli per aria” is a special, atmospheric track. What language barrier? You can hear the yearning, wistful tone of hopeless love in Alberto Ferrari’s voice. With a sweet percussion that sounds like someone sadly clip-clopping along, it’s actually very heart wrenching.
Rounding out the first disc robustly, “Sorriso in spiaggia I” delivers intriguing changeups; part II dares to venture into dark, extraterrestrial feeling influences.
Disc 2 begins with the explosive, grungy garage-jam “Attonito,” which sounds like a not-so-distant cousin to the songs of “Requiem.”
“E’ solo lunedì” continues the pleasantly dark theme of side B. The piano balances the heavy bass and guitar, while Alberto’s voice teeters on misery and incredible tenderness.
I feel that tracks like “Tu e me,” “Nuova Luce” and “Grattacielo” deserve recognition for their clever arrangements. They showcase the band’s attention to detail and the importance of well placed sounds and how they can make a song truly unique.
A track I adore is “Rosella Roll Over,” which opens with a nod to the Beatles’ “Ob-la-Di, Ob-la-da.” It feels a bit like a would-be Danny Elfman interpretation of “Being For the Benefit Of Mr. Kite!” The aggressive guitar and vocals, with a dash of bongo drums thrown in, make for a wild carnival-like tune that sounds surprisingly fresh.
The spaghetti western of the album comes in the form of “Canzone ostinata,” a nice, simplistic song with a country twang. The closing track “Lei disse (Un mondo del tutto differente)” features transcendental vocals and eclectic musicality; it sums up the album perfectly.
It’s so refreshing to see a band take risks and venture outside of their comfort-zone, even if they’ve found an ‘award winning recipe’. Verdena bravely departed from their grungy, psychedelic rock roots to put forth a piece of quality art that’s waiting to be heard and admired by any and all ears willing to listen (Italian or not).