Band Website: www.stereokimono.com
Label: Immaginifica Records
Label Website: www.immaginifica.it
Release Date: 2012
Sometimes we tend of think of Italian prog only for their symphonic achievements, but there are plenty of bands providing music in any number of other genres from Prog-Metal to Space-Rock. Falling a little more in that later category is the trio known as Stereo Kimono: Antonio Severi (guitar, midi guitar, keyboards), Cristina Atzori (drums, percussions), and Alex Vittorio (bass, keyboards). They bring on plenty of help for their third release entitled Intergalactic Art Café: Raffaello Regoli (vocals & lyrics on 4, 5, 6), Nicoletta Zuccheri (vocals & lyrics on 8), Paolo Raineri (trumpet on 1), Dario Antonetti (vocals on 1,10), Alio Die (drones on 3) and Tony Stern (sax on 2). Now in many respects the music on Intergalactic Art Café is so varied it’s unfair to label it as just Space-Rock, so think about the music here as a sampling of the best progressive rock has to offer.
Intergalactic Art Cafe presents ten-mostly instrumental tracks, a good portion of which are on the longer side and by longer I mean six-minutes or so. The CD starts with the longest “Fuga da Algon” [11:28] and it is laced with glorious Mellotron sounds, driving rock rhythms, catchy riffs galore and more grooves than you can imagine. All the while the track changes time and tempo going from wacky Zappa styled minor chords to symphonic flourishes. As most openers go, it’s quite breathtaking. And now for something completely different; track two “Space Surfer” [6:43] is exactly that a wonderful surfing vibe with clean guitar and slight reverb with little spacey synths bleeps and blurps. It’s like some futuristic tribute to Dick Dale. Even so we go through lots of musical change-ups and are treated to yet more Mellotron. Following on this theme “Indian Breakfast” [7:25] opens with Sitar sounds and more. The technique is similar as the band creates a musical riff and then looks for creative ways to re-craft it through the song using different instruments and arrangements. As a result these compositions change a lot and yet hang together on familiar hooks.
It strikes me this is some of Stereo Kimono’s most melodic work. Sure there are parts of angularity or strangeness but it’s that counterpoint that gives this set of tunes such vitality. More than anything there is so much musical variety this is just so enjoyable to listen to over and over again. In my books Intergalactic Art Café gets a solid recommendation.