Escape Velocity Records
Cristiano del Rossi contacts us from Italy and offers us a chance to hear what his group Chlorophyl has been recording. They’re his songs and besides his guitars and vocals the band includes Luca Balestra on guitars, Federico Camici on basses, drummer Perluigi Campa and input on arrangements eg on ‘Fields of Unfairness’ and ‘It’s Not Too Late’ from Filippo Pacini.
Thoughtfully, the washed-out white and grey artwork of the album is complemented by full lyrics in English.
From the start, it’s clear why the band are pitching this to us – an intricate guitar weave and melodic bass introduce a wistful and impassioned vocal on ‘Leaving Today’ with great emphatic drumwork. The guitar decoration exactly suits the solemn chord progression on this fokrock gem with memorable melody. There is a touch of late afternoon psych in the vocal delivery on following cut ‘It’s Not Too Late’ and perhaps this outfit have been influenced by early Pink Floyd, Trees, the more recent masters of atmosphere Public Symphony, The Beauty Room ….? all acts that we have championed for their songcraft, quiet strength, interesting lyrics, instrumental skill and arrangements..so why shouldn’t an album made in NGR Studio in Rome ( Francesco De Nigris ) join this quality collection of fine works ? No reason at all, in my view. It’s worthy of praise.
A genius catchy guitar figure features in ‘Shame’ with another fine vocal performance from Del Rossi ; ‘Fields of Unfairness’ is a steady chug of a number and with another sad timbre. What strikes this listener is the empathy and balance of the group – the drummer is often a touch busy but it works well in keeping the tempo’s lively and making the guitars sound more stately and the singing benefits as there’s no battle going on for prominence between members.
‘Girl’ is a delicately delivered song at the outset but soon takes solid shape with jittery percussive emphasis and here the singing reaches a peak of passion. I would have made the electric lead a wahwah’d one on this cut to offset the crisp drums. Next track ‘Laughs & Coffees’ is a rhythmic piece but another lyric of heartbreak ! Played this well, who minds, though ? “Yellow Leaves’ has a ‘Season Of The Witch’ pace and aching lead guitar lines from Balestra, presumably. This and the opening cut are the best songs here, I reckon. The lovely ‘A Small Place’ captures a summery floating sound, organic and flowing with perfect drumming worthy of Dave Mattacks of Fairport and Mary Chapin Carpenter fame. Plus heady bass with just enough urgency.
Final song ’What A Mess’ is an autumnal and thoughtful closer, the band sounding confident and in control but keeping the feel.
In conclusion, an excellently performed set of songs that holds together really well as a collection. They do desparately need a couple of more upbeat songs to lift the mood sometimes – on the lines of The Byrds ‘Mr Spaceman’ or early Fairport Convention’s ‘It’s Alright Ma, It’s Only Witchcraft’. And to vary the lead guitar tones with occasional phasing or chorus. But these are very minor carps….Who knew folkrock like this was being created in Italy ? Thank you, chaps