Continuing my recent batch of reviews of Italian bands, we arrive at Nosound’s fifth album, Scintilla. I have been looking forward to this one as I have really enjoyed their previous work. This album has been “inspired by personal upheaval and a desire for change” and is “emotionally complex and musically direct”, as you can read in Giancarlo Erra’s ‘Scintilla diary’ posts on Nosound’s Facebook page, which give a great insight into these compositions.
Nosound started as a one man studio project by Giancarlo but over the years has evolved into the present five piece band. Their influences are cited as Pink Floyd, Porcupine Tree, Brian Eno and Sigur Rós, previous albums having a sweeping cinematic, melancholic feel, full of symphonic precision and production. Here the band wanted to present stripped down compositions, musically looser and more intimate than their previous work. That said this is still noticeably Nosound and there is still that cinematic feel, be it on a smaller scale perhaps. The stripped back approach has allowed room for all of the instruments to make their presence felt in ways that enhance the music. Marianne De Chaselaine’s cello playing is just sublime in its beauty, wrapping itself around the melody of the songs. So emotional and ethereal, it intertwines in an almost free-form style, lifting the emotional feel of the music.
There are a couple of guest vocalists, namely Vincent Cavenagh from Anathema on two tracks, In Celebration of Life and The Perfect Wife, and renowned Italian singer Andrea Chimenti on Songo e Incendio for which he wrote the lyrics and arranged the vocal parts. In Celebration of Life begins with a beautiful piano piece, the cello joining to build slowly towards the introduction of Vincent’s vocals. There’s an evocative but short guitar solo to end what is an uplifting song. Vincent second contributions is to the album’s longest track, The Perfect Wife, the lyrics for which were written first and are “unforgiving and direct”. Vincent gives a great performance here; his delivery of these almost bitter lyrics is at times, to my ears, reminiscent of Tim Bowness or Dave Gilmour. This is meant as a compliment as Vincent connects with the songs and brings an emotional feel that fits well with the music. Here the music has a sharper edge from guitar and drums, but cutting into this after a short time is some wonderful piano and cello which soothes the proceedings, Vincent’s vocals and the guitar bringing the edge back for the finish, the musical delivery mirroring and enhancing the lyrics so well.
Chimenti’s Songo e Incendi proves the emotion and power of the Italian language in music. The song begins with piano accompanied by drums, Andrea’s vocal slowly builds as other instruments are subtly added until the guitar gives a sublime solo to take the song to its conclusion.
There is a variety of emotions and textures presented on Scintilla, from the opening track Short Story and its beautifully sparse slow development to the closing title track where the mood is created by careful arrangement, a lovely piano leading to militaristic drums and horns that take the album to its conclusion. I believe it is enough to say that this is an album worthy of investigation, even if you are not familiar with Nosound’s previous work. If on the other hand you are already a fan, I don’t think you will be disappointed. From the quality of the song writing, performances, the production and for me personally the wonderful cello contributions of Marianne, this is another leap forward in Nosound’s development. Scintilla is an album of quality and depth with the ability to create an emotional connection with the listener.
[You can read the interview with Giancarlo Erra about Scintilla and his approach to music HERE on TPA]
01. Short Story (2:24)
02. Last Lunch (7:00)
03. Little Man (4:39)
04. In Celebration of Life (5:34)
05. Songo e Incendi (4:45)
06. Emily (3:20)
07. The Perfect Wife (7:28)
08. Love is forever (2:58)
09. Evil Smile (4:34)
10. Scintilla (6:27)
Total Time – 49:09
Giancarlo Erra – Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards
Marco Berni – Keyboards, Vocals
Alessandro Luci – Bass, Upright Bass, Keyboards
Paolo Vigliarolo – Electric & Acoustic Guitars
Giulio Caneponi – Drums, Percussion
Marianne De Chastelaine – Cello
Andrea Chimenti – Vocals & lyrics (5)
Vincent Cavenagh – Vocals (4 & 7)
Record Label: Kscope
Country of Origin: Italy
Year Of Release: 2nd September 2016