Marco de Angelis is an Italian solo artist, songwriter, musician, audio engineer, whose first album The River - Both Sides Of The Story was released in 2013.
Here on his second album, he plays guitars, bass, Chapman stick, keyboards, Spanish laud, mandolin and percussion. He has also gathered together a formidable bunch of musicians for Next Station, including vocalists Nad Sylvan (Unifaun, Agents of Mercy, Steve Hackett), Robbie Wyckoff (Roger Waters) and Göran Edman (Karmakanic) and drummer Cristiniano Micalizzi on drums.
There's a good groove going at the start of Freewill before the unmistakeable voice of Nad Sylvan emerges on this rock-orientated song, full of atmospherics, together with twists and turns giving added interest.
That rock vibe continues into Keep Going, taken at a slightly more sedate pace but still packing a sizeable punch, Sylvan back on vocal duties, some sublime acoustic guitar coming from de Angelis.
The brilliant A Proggy Night in London has a very Genesis-like feel in terms of Sylvan's voice and very well nuanced melody line which would not have sounded out of place on Selling England By The Pound or Foxtrot. A stunning track which crackles with drama and atmosphere, right down to the stately drum beat, closing door, footprints and old radio sequence including a line from the films Casablanca to round it off.
Back Again features the voice of Wyckoff and is an altogether slower, more bluesy proposition, featuring two guitar solos from de Angelis - and seagulls!
The title track is another laid-back rocker, again featuring Wyckoff, some superb backing vocal harmonising, reminiscent of Todd Rundgren's Utopia and sublime guitars, both electric and acoustic, plus saxophone from Cristiana Polegri and precision drumming from Micalizzi. There are more sound effects to round off which seem to be one of his trademarks.
Finally, Last Train has a pared back Pink Floyd vibe, singer Edman effecting a Roger Waters-like voice.
There's plenty of variety and creativity, the songs featuring Sylvan being particularly engrossing, but the second half does not quite live up to these earlier tracks. But this is definitely an album worthy of attention if it has slipped under your radar so far.
*** Alison Reijman
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