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PFM: Emotional Tattoos
Premiata Forneria Marconi PFM - Emotional Tattoos CD Album Review

PFM: Emotional Tattoos

Melodic Progressive Rock
4.5/5.0

While you may not recall, maybe not even heard of, Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM), the band is a legend in the melodic progressive genre, if only most famous in their native Italy. In terms of progressive rock royalty, PFM is to Italy as Genesis or Yes is to England. Actually, their live performance debut was opening for Yes in 1971 (and the influence is obvious). PFM has had an extensive career, the bulk of their albums, some only in Italian, being from the early Seventies to the mid Eighties, yet their recordings continue to this day. Emotional Tattoos is their nineteenth album, a recording that comes in both English and Italian on two CDs.

PFM Band Photo

PFM

Musically, little has to be explained regarding the PFM sound: theirs is essentially neo-classical melodic progressive rock. To reference the aforementioned Genesis and Yes gives some greater musical context. Yet you could incorporate influences from Marillion (early) to Flower Kings as well. The strengths of PFM's song composition are many.

These assets begin with an abundance of melody and harmony, notably from the guitar parts and vocal arrangements, but also the lush piano and synth layers. The latter also add both atmosphere and embellishment that can range from simple piano to ethereal ambience to symphonic orchestration. But the same synths can have a commanding presence as within Central District. An additional strength comes from simple and basic rock groove that underlies most every song. It's something that makes the light prog complexity of the compositions more accessible and friendly.

Another ambitious element is the strong guitar work: this album abounds with classic melodic guitar solos, with a vibrant example within The Lesson. Also significant to the PFM sound is the musical definition given to each instrument. This is notable in how well the bass line rises in each song, with The Lesson and A Day We Share as notable examples. Finally, vocalist (and drummer) Franz Di Cioccio has strong melodic voice that reminds of some combination Gabriel, Collins, and Hogarth, maybe with a dash of Neal Morse. All this is enough to say that, with Emotional Tattoos, PFM creates a near perfect musical storm of classic and essential melodic progressive rock. Easily recommended.



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The Bottom Line

With Emotional Tattoos, PFM creates a near perfect, and quite entertaining, musical storm of classic and essential melodic progressive rock. Easily recommended.

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