Rating: 4 of 5
1. Break the Cover 3:40
2. Justified 3:02
3. Trashing Smashing 3:06
4. Rusting All 3:12
5. Keep Out From Me 3:10
6. All Day Off 3:21
7. A Step Ahead 3:08
8. Cut Them Entirely 3:51
The fourth album from the Italian rock band Emblema titled Keep Out From Me brings positive moods. They come from subtle compositions influenced by both European and American pop-rock as well as alternative guitar driven music. A listener may also catch some references to 70's rock spiced up with dirty sounding of guitar riffs that were popularized by the grunge scene twenty years later.
The bands line-up consists of Stefano Massari (vocals), Andrea Piemonti (guitar), Massimo Baldini (bass) and Carlo Lastrucci (drums). Good collaboration between all of them comes not only from their skills, but also from the fact they have known each other for many years. These musicians had been gathering musical experience in different bands until 2004 when they decided to establish Emblema.
The arrangements on Keep Out From Me have been built with the use of classic verse-chorus-verse methods. Songs like "Justified", "Keep Out From Me" and "Day Off" are dynamic, while "Break The Cover", "Trashing Smashing", "A Step Ahead" and "Cut Them Entirely" interlace with the others to carry more melodies. A smooth, well planned tracklist eases the listening process as well. Additionally, there is a very attractive groove slapped bass line at the beginning of the track "Rusting All" which dominates this part of the song, however it would be even cooler if it had been invigorating the music throughout the entire track until the very end.
The lyrics were written and performed in English which undoubtedly allows for further reception and promotion of the album worldwide. Some of the songs speak about social and behavioral issues, though they are seemingly targeted towards an individual rather than any distinct group of people. This is a quite common subject matter in Italian poetry.
To give you a few examples, "Justified" criticizes a society which prefers to act blind and muted to a worsening economy, unfair capitalistic practices, consumer protection cheats, bankers and drug mafia cartels that grow wealthier while exhibiting ignorance towards expendable employees or desperate acolytes who earn little money and are not provided with health insurance.
The title song "Keep Out from Me" is about a man who has lost interest in the world surrounding him. Due to a lack of obtainable goals he becomes a frequent visitor to several club and bar scenes, getting drunk, playing pool and picking up the local girlies. On a positive note, "Day Off" refers to the eye opening experience of traveling around the world and taking part in various activities such as a walk through Sahara in July or dinner in South America, thermal baths with a volcano for a view, bungee jumping and finally, gambling in Las Vegas.
Other lyrics, like the ones written for "Cut Them Entirely", "Break The Cover", "Rusting All" and "A Step Ahead" seem to bring some hidden context that can be decrypted only by their authors (Andrea Piemonti - Stefano Massari). Unfortunately, the English translation includes a few mistakes in grammar, so those familiar with the language may dig into the lyrics and feel a bit confused at first.
When it comes to Stefano's style of singing, his voice is rather high, semi-male/semi-boyish in type (Brian Molko from Placebo may be a good reference) and brings out his native Italian vocal tones. An English native speaker must remember however that Italian, French, Arabic and Slavic languages have accents that are very difficult to be replaced when it comes to English translations. So in fact, an Italian accent may be an advantage in terms of the recognition and uniqueness of music composed by Emblema.
Every track from the Keep Out From Me album is deserving of radio play. The music may fulfill the expectations of indie, guitar driven pop and alternative rock listeners. These compositions are kept in a well known, soothing, classical vibe that is devoid of many experimental sounds and unexpected moments. Thanks to this, the album has a chance to get through to a majority of people who are not typically interested in listening to abstract musical solutions, but prefer solidly arranged yet easy listenable songs.
(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Magazine, March 12th, 2012).
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Reviewed by Google+ Music Reviews