Court - Frost of Watermelon

Year of Release: 2007
Label: Independent
Catalog Number:
Format: CD
Total Time: 71:54:00

In the world of progressive rock, there are those bands that choose to exploit mind-boggling complexity and those that choose to hide the intricacy in more accessible songs. Those that revel in blazing solos and technical feats and those that rely on lyrical touches and textural changes. Those that hit you hard from the get-go and those that vary their intensity to achieve a different kind of contrast. Those that break all possible barriers and those that play within them (sort of). In other words, those that are a bunch of bands that aren't the subject of this review and those that are, like Court.

With Frost Of Watermelon, this Italian quintet concentrates on a diversity akin to Led Zeppelin and the melodic nature characteristic of its Mediterranean habitat - and adds the perfect knowledge of what constitutes a memorable harmonic change to boot. Backing up these magnificent forces is the frequently interesting, if subtle, guitar interplay of Marco Strobel and Mose Nodani and the multifaceted vocals of Paolo Lucchina, who can go from short sparks of powerhouse wailing a la Bruce Dickinson to much more frequent displays of charming naivet? in a matter of seconds. So it's a real surprise when it turns out that the record is, well, lacking the staying power that one would expect from these elements.

It's not that Court can't write coherent and logical material within the time constraints that so many prog outfits seem to detest - and that might very well be the problem here. Tracks like "Men I Met" and "Flat Stone" go by logically, with a decent amount of emotional fire and more than competent playing, but they just do that: go by. "Limbo" features some deliciously dark-tinged oboe lines by Nodari and a mysterious change of harmony towards the end that seems to lead into unexpected new directions, but the track simply ends before the promise can be fulfilled. And "Synaptic Ghost," well, that one's pretty cool ? kind of what Psychotic Waltz would sound like if played by Led Zep on Led Zeppelin III. No complaints there.

Beyond that, however, Court suffers from a persistent ailment that keeps the band from achieving what seems to be easily within grasp at any given moment: unlike many of its contemporaries, who just keep playing for too damn long, this Italian fivesome instead seems hesitant to pursue its own ideas to their full extent. Lyrical prettiness is all over the place, and the harmonic changes - you gotta give it to these guys, they nail that element right on the head with some of the most well thought-out shifts these ears have heard in quite a while. In fact, if they could find a bolder approach that would allow them to exploit these ideas to their full extent, we could be talking magic pretty soon. Until then, however, all we can do is sit and wait for Court to find the spark that was missing this time around.

Men I Met (2:23) /When I Lose (5:04) / Walking And Talking (5:23) / Limbo (4:57) / Wet Of Sky (2:43) / My World (5:06) / Bridge To Maya (6:09) / Synaptic Ghost (4:10) / Sun Beyond Time (7:36) / Flat Stone (4:10) / Mad And Child: / Part I (4:28) / Part II (5:41) / Part III (6:18) / Part IV (7:40)

Paolo Lucchina - voice
Mose Nodari - guitars, oboe, recorders
Luigi Bonacina - bass
Francesco Vedani - drums, flute
Marco Strobel - guitars, mandolin

And You'll Follow The Winds' Rush 'Till Their Breath Dwells (1993)
Distances (1996)
Frost Of Watermelon (2007)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin IT

Added: August 15th 2007
Reviewer: Marcelo Silveyra
Artist website:
Hits: 1296
Language: english


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