When February 3, 2006 Ivano Fossati released his eighteenth album, “The Archangel”, we wrote that the news was that the Genoese singer-songwriter was returning, at least in part, to rock. He commented explaining: “The abstinence from electricity on the acoustic tour made me want to rediscover sounds like that of electric guitars, which I had neglected for some time. But not only that: I have also recovered a more direct musical form. While writing these songs I was listening to songs by bands like the Animals and very edgy, very dry songs. What you are listening to while you write, somehow passes: if it came from there, from those listenings, I would be happy and honored.” To celebrate 18 years since the release of that album we report our review below.
Talking about an Ivano Fossati album is not easy. It’s difficult not to lavish on enthusiastic judgements, because, like it or not, Fossati is not only one of the great Italian singer-songwriters, but also someone incapable of publishing something that is less than beautiful. It’s also difficult not to end up making the typical mistake of music criticism: vivisecting the words, which are the most easily described and analyzed content in a review. Even more so when the words are so direct as in the case of “The Archangel”.
Let’s start from the data, therefore: this is Ivano Fossati’s new album, 3 years after “Lampo traveller”, and one and a half years after “Dal vivo volume 3”, an album derived from the beautiful acoustic tour.
And let’s start with the music: “The Archangel”, from this point of view, is often the antipodes of his latest productions. It is essentially a rock record, as a work by Fossati can be: it contains some of the most frank and direct things written by the Genoese singer-songwriter, such as the opening song “Ho sogno una strada”, the first single “Cara democracy” or the title track, in which the electric guitars often overlooked in the recent past are recovered; these songs are joined by others that are less fast, but equally direct such as “Il batte” or “Baci e abbracci”, ballads with a sixties flavor derived from the path taken with the most beautiful song of “Lampo traveller”, “Il kiss on the mouth”.
This frankness of the album was born during the writing phase, Fossati himself said: the songs are almost all first drafts that have not been reworked, and this can also be felt from a lyrical point of view. The songs are in fact also direct in their words, as demonstrated by the “civil” tones of “Cara democracy” (about which much has already been written), of the title track dedicated to the story of an immigrant, or of the love songs “L’amore fa ” or to meta-song “The beat”, dedicated to the increasingly synthetic way of thinking about today’s music.
“The Archangel” is, at first listens, a surprising album. It has some “trademarks” of Fossati’s music, some songs that are immediately recognizable and attributable to his style, but also things that you don’t expect. It’s a record that, despite being more direct than usual, still needs several listens to grow, precisely because it wants to avoid exhausting itself in a beat, as the song says: this, unlike the sound of several songs on this record, it’s nothing new. Fossati’s songs are the furthest thing there is from the musical fast-food of these days and “L’arcangelo” is the best confirmation of this.