Saturday, November 9, 2013

ALBUM REVIEW: Calibro 35 - Traditori Di Tutti

When Italian record producer Tommaso Colliva invited a handful of musicians into his studio to pay tribute to some of his favorite Italian crime film soundtracks, it was only meant to be a one-off side project, a self-contained expression of admiration to the beguiling funk and jazz that throbbed behind the non-stop action of the colorful poliziotteschi and giallo b-movies prominent in the 1970s and 80s, but the sessions, which resulted in their 2008 self-titled debut, were too fun to give up on. They've since traded in covers for their own compositions and released a handful of albums, but as their new full-length, Traditori Di Tutti, proves, that original cinematic-throwback appeal is still very much intact. 

Beginning with the ominous "Prologue", a moody guitar and organ workout, the album charges through 12 tracks of sinewy rock, funk and jazz, which by and large capture that somewhat indefinable soundtrack music feel so well that you can practically see the nonexistent film unfolding in your mind's eye. There are a few missteps here and there, like the clunky "Stainless Steel", which sounds uncomfortably like Rage Against the Machine attempting to invoke the Kashmere Stage Band, but for the most part it's a credible translation of influences like Ennio Morricone, Goblin and others into an accessible modern pop format. It doesn't live up to those greats, but thankfully it doesn't feel like they're trying to. 

There's of course an air of conceptual cheesiness to Traditori  Di Tutti, which takes its name from a mystery novel by lauded Italian crime writer Giorgio Scerbanenco, yet between tracks like the wah-wah drenched "You Filthy Bastards!" and the swinging, orgasmic "The Butcher's Bride", it's the perfect thing to throw on should you find yourself in a protracted car chase or need to kill a vampire in a particularly funky manner, though it's also fit for a dull morning commute or sitting around playing video games. By this point, it should be obvious that Calibro 35 is extremely derivative, unabashedly so, but while it's admittedly nothing new, Traditori Di Tutti remains a charming exploitation homage.

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