Altre di B – Miranda!
There’s always been a thriving music scene associated with Italy throughout the history of popular music and Altre di B deserve consideration, three albums in, as one of the best rock acts that the nation has yet to produce. They deserve the label rock based on the presence of guitar running through the ten songs, but there’s a lot more going on here than rock posturing. The presence of synthesizers and other electronica in this collection is just as forceful, sometimes taking a lead role, and it makes an excellent foil for the guitar and the dynamic contrasts Altre di B pursue over the course of these ten songs. This is the sound of an experienced band with immense performing and compositional chemistry. The writing tailors the songs to the individual strengths of each member and there’s never a single hint of self indulgence coming through anywhere on the release.
Opening for some of the most respected acts on the global music scene has given Altre di B a level of confidence that you don’t hone in rehearsals and it comes across even on songs like the opener “Pungi”. Their talent for mixing a guitar heavy approach with electronica touches is on full display here and it achieves an unique confluence of atmospheric texture and outright power that few acts of this ilk can hope to equal. A different side of that is revealed with the second track “Salgado” as the band opts for a much more stylized, condensed approach more reliant on dynamics than instrumental heroics to get things across to the audience. The streamlined approach taken here is quite appealing and a nice contrast with the more wide open attack heard in the opener. Much of this vibe continues with the song “Poilao”, but it mixes more of the commercial edge back into the band’s music that they forego on the second song. The vocals have a light melodic touch despite being somewhat treated with post-production effects.
“LAX” carries on with much of the same melodic touch that we heard in the aforementioned track but spreads it out much more with far less emphasis on the guitar than we’ve heard thus far. It is, however, used in a much more orchestral sense, as part of a larger whole, and matches up well with its concurrent synth textures. “Erevan” has one of the best grooves you’ll hear on the album and points towards an underrated weapon in the band’s arsenal – their ability to find a compelling motif and ride it out to a logical conclusion without ever testing the listener’s patience. The light funkiness of this song makes it all the more likable. “Potwisha” has a vulnerable lyric, unusual delivery, and an arrangement that plays to these strengths in unexpected ways. The ethereal qualities of the vocals during the chorus strike a nice juxtaposition against the spartan and straight forward verses without ever pushing the idea too hard. This is a fantastic release with few lulls and it sounds like Altre di B entered the studio with a clear idea of what they wanted to commit to recording. It results in an astoundingly complete work, well thought out, and very entertaining.