There appears to be a wealth of good music coming from Italy at the moment and it is encouraging to see young bands picking up the progressive rock banners and charging forward. Eveline’s Dust is one such band, using the influences and inspiration of classic Italian and English progressive rock to shape a modern sound. They state that these influences include bands such as Banco del Mutuo Soccuso, Perigeo, Genesis and King Crimson but also modern artists, Steven Wilson for one.
Eveline’s Dust come from the Italian city of Pisa, releasing their first album Time Changes in January 2013 which they followed up with intensive touring. In February 2015 they filmed a live in the studio performance of two tracks intended for The Painkeeper and in September, after winning some competitions over the summer, began a crowd funding campaign for the new album, The Painkeeper being performed as a live show in Pisa in February 2016, around the time that they signed a deal with Lizard Records.
The Painkeeper is a concept album, but the idea is not a typically overblown affair and what Eveline’s Dust have done here is to use it as a focus to direct the songs. Despite being part of a concept the songs work equally well individually. But what is it about? Well it was inspired by the poem Il Custode di dolori by Federico Vittori. It’s the end of Sunday mass and the priest, who is exhausted by his congregation’s depression, is confronted by a dark man who introduces himself as The Painkeeper. He claims to be able to right any afflictions and, with their consent, set souls free. They all respond with a resounding yes. Things change, life appears to start again, but after some time they realise that they have agreed to give up more than they bargained for. The Painkeeper took their pain, but also their dreams, depriving them of their ability to imagine a better existence and leaving them content with the condition of their lives. A rather heavy idea, but the story does not get in the way of the music which is particularly varied. The album cover, designed by Francesco Guarnaccia, has an unsettling cartoon-like feel that is very fitting.
The track Clouds has an almost King Crimson-like guitar riff, drifting into Steven Wilson territory at times. There are two instrumental pieces, the opening Awake and third track NREM, which begins with the chant “wake up, you better wake up wake up” before we get Pink Floyd-style piano and guitar, then saxophone which combines to create a beautiful song. The saxophone makes a further welcome appearance on A Tender Spark of Unknown, continuing its partnership with the piano which has a much jazzier feel this time, the guitar having a quite angular feel that helps to drive the song forward. Carolina Paolicchi provides her voice on four tracks and on Vulnerable her vocals lift the song to a new level. It would have been interesting to hear what she might have given to the album with more of a lead role.
After the bright, lively and positive opening with Awake, we get the longest piece in the shape of the 8-minute title track. Again the piano features prominently; on this song I’m sure that I can hear influences from some of Opeth’s quieter moments. The track starts in a gentle, almost sad way, driven by the piano, it picks up the pace slightly before the guitar comes in with a solo. Towards the end the song threatens to cut loose, but never does, instead remaining tight and controlled.
Eveline’s Dust have created an interesting album with some great melodies which can be hard edged or jazzy at times, but never losing the balance and focus of the nine songs here. A very good offering from this young band who I am sure will continue to deliver more quality music. I for one will look forward to that.
01. Awake (1:50)
02. The Painkeeper (8:12)
03. NREM (3:03)
04. Clouds (4:52)
05. Joseph (8:03)
06. A Tender Spark of Unknown (4:17)
07. Vulnerable (3:51)
08. HCKT (7:16)
09. We Won’t Regret (3:04)
Total time – 43:28
Nicola Pedreschi – Vocals, Piano, Rhodes & Keyboards
Lorenzo Gherarducci – Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Backing Vocals
Marco Carloni – Bass
Angelo Carmignani – Drums
Carolina Paolicchi – Backing Vocals (tracks 2,4,7 & 9)
Federico Avella – Soprano Sax (tracks 3 & 6)
Record Label: Lizard Records
Catalogue#: LIZARD CD0121
Date Of Release: 7th March 2016