The album ODDITY (see review) made by the French musician Franck Carducci was one of the most surprising releases of 2011 for me. Since I got this excellent album in my collection I never left this talented multi-instrumentalist (vocals, guitars, bass, sitar, percussion) out of my sight for a single moment! Seeing him and his excellent band perform three times in the Netherlands made it possible for me to hear a sneak preview of the compositions that are going to be on his follow up release. A release which I certainly was looking forward to. He named it Torn Apart and released it early 2015.
Although the album contains several songs which I heard during his concerts the album still had some beautiful surprises in store for me. The album starts with the title track. Torn Apart was one of the three new compositions which he already showed to his audience. It's a great up tempo track on which both of the excellent guitar players of his live band get room to rock their instruments. I can only confirm that Christophe Obadia and Mathieu Spaeter are a great guitar tandem, not only on stage but also in the recording studio. The melodic mellow middle section is beautifully done and shows that Franck has not only a rock-'n-roll heart, but a prog heart as well. The next track again was familiar to me. Closer To Irreversible turned out to be a real blues song when it was recorded in the studio, even more as when played on stage. One of Franck's musical heroes can be heard on the electric guitar on this composition. Former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett did a great solo that only he can do! Next is Journey Through The Mind. It starts with a Mark Kelly (Marillion) kind of intro played on the synthesizer by Richard Vecchi. Former band member Roy van Oost plays wonderfully on his flute on this track. On this true progressive rock tune with fine Mellotron parts played by Franck himself, there is a first time contribution on backing vocals by the excellent female singer Mary Reynaud from his live band. The tablas (played by Fred Boisson) and sitar (played by Franck himself) gives the song a real Beatles kind of sound. Therefore it wasn't so strange to hear a musical part at the end that reminded me of the Lennon-McCartney composition Norwegian Wood. The next song Artificial Love is a very short track (two minutes) where the Mellotron and the electric guitar dominate the song. The first epic piece is next. A Brief Tale Of Time is divided into four different parts which includes many moods. Sometimes mellow, sometimes more up tempo, but all beautifully done. It includes some fantastic synthesizer parts done by the already mentioned Richard Vecchi. Throughout the entire song he can be heard on the Mellotron, piano and organ as well. The following Girlfriend For A Day can be described as kind of a short ballad. Another rocking song is next.
On Mr. Hyde & Dr. Jekyll contributes former band member Michael Strobel on the electric guitar. The second epic can be enjoyed after this track. Artificial Paradises could already be enjoyed during Franck's live concerts. He even made this studio version more beautiful then I could remember of the live version. Franck played most of the keyboard parts himself in the studio, but shared the synthesizer parts with Mr. Vecchi. A special mention goes to Mr. Spaeter for the excellent guitar parts. Just like on his debut he managed to give the song an amazing climax. Just the way we all love it in the ultimate progressive rock tune! On his debut I enjoyed the Genesis cover The Carpet Crawlers as a fantastic bonus track. This time the encore done during most of his live shows was added as a bonus track. And just like on the live version of School the harmonica has been replaced by a didgeridoo on the studio version. Hearing Christophe Obadia play on this instrument you get the impression of an elephant using his trunk to make the sound of a trumpet. The rest of the song stays rather close to the original Supertramp composition. The track also features keyboard player Oliver Castan and drummer Laurent Falso of Franck's live band. They can be heard on several other tracks on the album as well.
The over all feeling after listening to Torn Apart several times is that Carducci and his many guests managed to come up with a very strong second album. An album Franck can be very proud of. Most of all if you realise that he is an independent artist who has to do everything on his own without a record label behind him. So both thumbs up for this wonderful musician, composer and human being, who made the first musical highlight of 2015!
**** Henri Strik (edited by Astrid de Ronde)
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