Old Rock City Orchestra was formed in 2009 in Orvieto in Italy by Cinzia Catalucci (vocals and keyboards) and Rafaele Spanetta (guitars). Giacomo Cocchiara (bass guitar) and Michele Capriolo (drums) joined later on and this resulted in the actual lineup of the band. In 2012 they released their debut Once Upon A Time which was followed by Back To Earth in 2015.
While listening to their latest album I couldn't help getting visions of an Italian Spinal Tap. Although I must admit there is a big difference. Spinal Tap was a hilarious film project with brilliant lyrics and great sounding songs that went totally over the top. Old City Rock Orchestra is a serious band. So why should I compare them with Spinal Tap? If it was a parody of a rock band it would have been great. Singer Cinzia does everything to sound like Kate Bush but doesn't quite get there. Her keyboard playing is way better. The songs in which she sings lead vocals are not the best on the album. The other singer of the band is Rafaele Spanetta and yes, his vocals make sense. His guitar playing on the other hand is, let's say, a bit out of date. I mean, he is a skilled guitar player, but his sound is horrible. I've got no problems with the old school rock sound, but this man sounds as if he plays on an old transistor radio with electrical problems. And it doesn't have an 11. The whole sound of the band is out of date. They must be influenced by The Strawbs in their early years. The sound of the keyboards, drums and the overdose of reverb give the music a late sixties character. The album starts with a kind of lalala hoompa tune and that's when I thought “is this serious or is this a fake band like Spinal Tap”. Ít wasn't a joke so I thought I should better stop listening. I didn't stop, but sadly enough it didn't get much better. One song that is sung by Rafael (Melissa) and is played on acoustic guitar and keyboards is very nice, but the rest can't keep my attention. Until the last one Back To Earth, that wasn't too bad. The lyrics are all in English, but the level of writing is poor.
All in all I was disappointed by the band and the CD. And that's a pity because there is potential.
** Arne van Os van den Abeelen (edited by Astrid de Ronde)
Where to buy?
All Rights Reserved Background Magazine 2015