Cage - Secret Passage

(CD 2008, 43:35, FGBG 4785)

The tracks:
  1- Movements(05:00)
  2- The Scream(06:42)
  3- Bitter Honey(04:50)
  4- Marta(03:08)
  5- Secret Passage(06:01)
  6- Dream Like Broken Glass(04:54)
  7- Time To Go Back Home(05:24)
  8- M31 (Live)(06:18)

Cage Website        samples        Musea Records

Italian band was founded in 1987 and soon they participated in several shows, festivals and competitions in cities like Sienna, Rome and Milan. In 1992, Cage got a contract from the Toast-label in Torino and in the same year, they released the single View. A year later Cage released their first album entitled The Feebleminded Man. In 1994, the band appeared on the Italian TV with a video clip, but later that year several members decided to work out their own musical ideas. However, in 2000 they joined again and devoted themselves to a new project that can be heard on the demo that they recorded in March 2001. Cage appeared on the satellite channel Rock TV and in 2003, the band recorded 87/94. This album contains six very melodic, pleasant and alternating songs recorded between 1987 and 1994. The songs have a lot of tension between the mellow parts and the bombastic parts with harder-edged guitar work, tastefully arranged with dual-keyboard play of organ, piano, mellotron and synthesizers. Since that promising album, we had to wait five years until Musea released Secret Passage, their latest effort to date.

This new album features dual-keyboard play as well (Alessandro Bugliani and Claudio Franciosi) and a guest-musician on flute in one track. Three songs are recorded in 2007, four in 2008 and M31 is a live track ‘of some years ago, somewhere’ as the band writes in the booklet. I must say, that I’m impressed by the variety in the eight compositions, the musical skills of the musicians and the awesome interplay of which The Scream is the best example. In comparison with 87/94, Cage delivers a more jazz-rock-oriented sound in Movements with delicate fretless bass work and in Bitter Honey with a flashy synthesizer solo and a hard-edged guitar solo. Marta has a subtle volume pedal guitar, sparkling piano and a strong build-up with exciting interplay between guitar and organ. Time To Go Back Home delivers a great dynamic atmosphere in the end and on the live track M31, we can enjoy an exciting guitar solo and omnipresent electric piano work. The title track is a solo piece on classical guitar in the vein of Steve Hackett and in The Scream, the vocals come pretty close to the voice of The Watch’s singer Simone Rossetti. In my opinion, Cage has made a captivating blend of classic prog and jazz-rock, more mature and elaborated than ever before!

***+ Erik Neuteboom (edited by Peter Willemsen)

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