Sacri Cuori Delone Glitterbeat

From the moment Blabber’n’Smoke first heard Sacri Couri we were convinced that they were a very special band. They played a short set when backing Dan Stuart back in 2012 which we described as an “astounding palette of sounds that ranged from surf and Duane Eddy type guitar to Nino Rota cinematic whirls with Joe Meek electronica and superb percussion to take the audience on a trip through some weird places.”
Their album Rosario confirmed their wide range of influences and left no doubt that there is a “Sacri Cuori universe,” a strange and wonderful place where a cornucopia of delightful sounds coalesces to deliver a true Technicolor dream. Often described as purveyors of imaginary soundtracks (and very much influenced by the likes of Nino Rota and Ennio Morricone) Sacri Cuori actually delivered the soundtrack for a movie, Zoran, which won several European awards in 2014 and now we have Delone, an album that positively drips with aural delights and is indeed, as the press release claims, a kaleidoscopic road trip.

For an Italian band Sacri Cuori have long been associated with American music due to their association with the likes of Dan Stuart, Calexico, Richard Buckner and Giant Sand with their first album, Douglas and Dawn recorded in Tucson. Delone however sees them proudly reclaim their homeland with guitarist Antonio Gramentieri saying, “in every sound and feeling on the album, Italy is the heartbeat.” It’s an Italy that is viewed through the lens of Hollywood and Cinecitta, the Italy that was cool and hip in the sixties, land of Vespas, Gaggia, Mastrello Mastrianni and Virna Lisi. The band look to the music of Italian film composers, not only Rota and Morricone but lesser known artists such as Riz Ortolani, Armando Trovajoli and Piero Umiliani, composer of the song forever associated with the Muppets, Mah Na Mah Na. With a musical palette then that includes orchestral sweeps, funk, goofy humour and Euro pop they also toss in tango, surf music and a nod to the subversive pop genius of Serge Gainsbourg. Morricone’s spaghetti western whistling is married to the traditional sound of Secondo Casadei’s Romagna Mia and lit by a neon stream of vibrant Giallo colours.

Delone features Evan Lurie, Marc Ribot and Steve Shelley on additional instrumental duties while the vocals are handled by Howe Gelb (on Serge), Carla Lippis, an Italian diva they discovered in Australia and Emmanuelle Sigal with the songs variously in English French and Italian. The opening number, Bendigo is a turbo charged Mexican infused surftrash thrash that Quentin Tarantino really needs to hear. Delone, the song, tells the tale of the album’s anti hero, a man in the shadows , in a manner redolent of sixties spy thriller theme songs while Dancing (On The Other Side Of Town) is romance as danger, a David Lynch nightmare delivered with a deadpan sense of cool. With spoken word snippets between numbers, twanging guitars, deranged horns and fairground keyboards enlivening the instrumentals the entire album is a delight to listen to. It’s infectious, humorous and intelligent and marks Sacri Cuori as one of the coolest bands around.

p.s. watch the video below for a cameo appearance from Marlowe Billings, Toni Delone’s American friend.

Advertisements

Sacri Cuori. Rosario.

This album has been in heavy rotation here at Blabber’n’Smoke ever since we were able to get a copy at Sacri Cuori‘s superb gig with Dan Stuart at King Tuts last month. From Italy and primarily an instrumental band press releases and record label notes would lead one to expect a spaghetti western version of Calexico and that’s a little bit unfair on the band as they have much more to offer than dust blown soundtracks to non existent cowboy movies.
Having said that there’s no doubt that they are influenced by the sounds of the American south west. Their first album, Douglas & Dawn was recorded in Tucson with some of Giant Sand and Calexico in attendance and John Convertino appears here. However there is a heavy European influence also present which is dominated by the music of Nino Rota, best known for his film scores for Fellini and The Godfather theme, with whirls of circus like tumbles and mournful swollen horns such as tuba recalling his dizzying work. Elsewhere there are glimpses of Joe Meek’s clockwork science fiction sounds and occasional glimmers of Krzysztof Komeda.
Essentially a trio (Antonio Gramentieri, guitars, Christian Ravaglioli, various keyboards and wind instruments and Francesco Giampaoli, bass) Sacri Cuori are expanded here with Diego Sapignoli providing various percussive effects and sound samples while Enrico Mao Bocchini drums on several tracks while Denis Valentini adds percussion and horns. Ravaglioli and Sapignoli in particular beaver away on so many instruments with the result that the album is a multilayered cornucopia of delights while Gramantieri evokes surf music, Santo and Johnny’s Sleepwalk, The Lounge Lizards jazz noire and Link Wray. While they proved at King Tuts that they can pull this off live as a quartet on the album they are joined by a stellar cast of supporting players including Convertino, Jim Keltner, David Hidalgo, Stephen McCarthy, JD Foster and Marc Ribot.
Although this is essentially an instrumental album another star guest opens the proceedings as Isobel Campbell sings the opening Silver Dollar. With her trademark whispy voice Campbell croons as the band swoon around her in a dreamlike state with keening lap steel and banjo from Stephen McCarthy. Like a Lee Hazlewood song scored by Angelo Badalmenti it’s a fine curtain raiser. Campbell reappears and does another fine job on Garrett, East, a relatively unadorned song featuring Dobro and prepared piano that is delicate as gossamer. It’s worth noting that Campbell wrote the lyrics for both songs.
The remainder of the album is an atmospheric broth of tunes with only occasional voices, sampled or sung, to add colour. While each and every one has its own beauty and repeated listens reveal new delights a few gems merit mention. The stately slow tango of Fortuna has some outstanding guitar work from Gramantieri while Lido recalls the Cuban sensuality captured so well by Ry Cooder and Manuel Galban on their album Mambo Sinuendo. Sipario’s swirling keyboards revisit the heady delights of Rota’s Amacord while Teresita starts off with Tex-Mex keyboards before the song swirls into outer space. Finally the juggernaut drive of Sei takes the listener down dark menacing highways with squalls of guitar, screeching horns and a disembodied voice. Short and to the point if David Lynch decides to remake Lost Highway he’s got his opening song right here.
This album is ridiculously good. As we have said it repays repeated listens as the ear discovers and hones in on yet another fine detail and the mind paints pictures to go with the music. Hopefully it won’t be long before these Italian suoni maghi are back in Glasgow to thrill and delight us.

website
buy it here

The Wrights. Red and Yellow, Blue and Green.

Husband and wife duo, Adam and Shannon Wright from Georgia had a taste of stardom when they were caught up on the coat tails of Adam’s uncle, country superstar, Alan Jackson with their debut album released on a major label and touring in the big time. Unfortunately their second album was nixed by their label leaving them to find their feet again as independents.
A classic couple they complement each other in the grand tradition of Gram and Emmylou or most recently Robert Plant and Alison Krauss. There are moments on this fine release when one could be fooled into thinking this is indeed the follow up to Raising Sand. Apart from the vocal interplay there is some sublime guitar playing not too far removed from the contributions Marc Ribot added to the Plant/Krauss collaboration and the production is on a par with T Bone Burnett’s.
The nine songs range from the haunting opener Since You Left Me to the rockabilly rhythms of The way That I’m Living. Special mention however goes to Flying Home which is a polished diamond of a song, sweet as the early Eagles where lush guitars sweep the song along and We were Made to Love, a haunting song, soft and hushed. Above all there is a shared affinity with The Everly Brothers tradition, a tradition that is shared by Plant and Krauss and Parsons and Harris
All in all a gem of an album that deserves to be heard.
Website
Since You Left Me