PFM - Emotional Tattoos

PFM – Emotional Tattoos

PFM had a career bunk up when Greg Lake introduced them to ELP’s Manticore label and Pete Sinfield’s poetic English lyrics in the late ’70s. Returning to Italy, the group’s output has been mainly Italian based until this new album, featuring core members Franz Di Cioccio, Patrick Djivas, and Lucio Fabbri whose signature violin cements this band’s style. Drummer Di Cioccio also handles all lead vocals (with an Italian version on disc 2) and is perfect for this kind of music.

Now without founding member and guitarist Franco Mussida, his replacement is Marco Sfogli, a mainstay of James LaBrie’s band and solo output. Although lower in the mix, there is a distinctive “heaviness” imbued because of this choice and although not initially considered a “guitar” album, careful listening picks up some very fine playing – The Lesson being a good example.

Opening with some lovely retro electric piano, the longest track, We’re Not An Island, is a tremendous slow building, keyboard drenched epic that appears to get better on repeat listening, with an optimistic lyrical sentiment that not for the first time in European rock music defies the fact that this is their second language, putting many in the U.K. to shame. There’s a Kansas-like emotion to this, only reinforced by (again) the impassioned playing of Marco Sfogli in the track’s coda.

Much here is rock in the easy listening vein, like Morning Freedom and Central District, but in truth there are many layers of interlocking keyboard and subtle violin with guitar flourishes that need to be listened to. There is a softness to the production that requires appreciation over time.

A Day We Share is pure pop/prog with another great lyrical message of ultimate hope for us humans, and like Freedom Square there is a hint of Celebration in its feel.

I’m Just A Sound is probably the stand out piece here; fast paced, tempo changing, synth soloing, and even a hint of Supertramp brings a smile to the face, all with an anthemic vibe throughout. This is the soundtrack to a winter woody walk, quickening the pace and admiring the changing colours. Love song Hannah sees you back in the log cabin, drying off your socks, then It’s My Road ends this performance, morphing into jazz territory before coming to an abrupt full stop that would trigger a ‘hoorah’ of approval.

The world has been waiting for Italy’s “Award-winning Marconi Bakery” to once again open its doors and reveal the secret of Panettone Prog to old and new fans alike. Emotional Tattoos harks back to the halcyon days of Photos of Ghosts and maybe even Chocolate Kings. Ben giocato tutti!

CD 1 – English Version

01. We’re Not An Island (7:12)
02. Morning Freedom (6:06)
03. The Lesson (5:08)
04. So Long (5:56)
05. A Day We Share (6:03)
06. There’s A Fire In Me (4:55)
07. Central District (5:27)
08. Freedom Square (4:47)
09. I’m Just A Sound (5:57)
10. Hannah (5:16)
11. It’s My Road (5:07)

Total Time – 62:01

CD 2 – Italian Version
01. Il Regno (7:12)
02. Oniro (6:06)
03. La lezione (5:08)
04. Mayday (5:56)
05. La danza degli specchi (6:03)
06. Il cielo che c’è (4:55)
07. Quartiere generale (5:27)
08. Freedom Square (4:47)
09. Dalla Terra alla Luna (5:57)
10. Le cose belle (5:16)
11. Big Bang (5:07)

Total Time – 62:01

Franz Di Cioccio – Lead Vocals, Drums
Patrick Djivas – Bass
Alessandro Scaglione – Keyboards, Hammond, Moog
Lucio Fabbri – Violin
Marco Sfogli – Guitars
Roberto Gualdi – Drums
Alberto Bravin – Keyboards, Backing Vocals

Record Label: InsideOut Music
Country of Origin: Italy
Date of Release: 27th October 2017

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