It’s been three years since we’ve heard some fantastic Canterbury music from the mind of Italian group, Homunculus Res. They came back last year with a follow up to 2013’s debut album, Limiti all’eguaglianza della Parte con il Tutto with a second album called, Come si diventa cio che si era. The AltrOck label have never disappointed me of Italian Prog, and the Rock In Opposition movement and for me Homunculus Res show no sign of stopping here to prove they can take it up a notch in the Canterbury tales with amazing results.
When you mix those three ingredients together, it’s an interesting, dazzling, and out of this world combination that the band themselves bring into more of what’s to come. The lyrics have a whimsical, ironic, and amusing sense of humor and while the concept is based around a city hospital, it’s almost as if what to expect when you enter inside the emergency room to meet insane, weird, and mind-boggling people that makes you wonder that Alice went into the Wonderland and let the music help her be who she is.
The 17-minute centerpiece, Ospedale Civico which features David Newhouse of The Muffins and Wyatt Moss-Wellington on the choir, it is an unexpected mixture between the sounds of a Jazzy-RIO-Canterbury groove. With unexpected time changes that will remind you of Soft Machine’s Third-era, Gilgamesh, Egg, Picchio dal Pozzo, and Captain Beefheart’s Trout Mask Replica-era in there with insane synths, guitar melodies between D’Alessandro and the bass he plays on the composition, and the Thelonious Monk-like walking rhythm for the last five minutes with a ‘60s spooky organ, makes it sound like you are in the groove before the last 26 seconds gives it a sun lifting finale.
The swirling outer space adventure of Vescia Piscis sets the lounge groove between the keyboards with a buzzing synth, ascending rhythm, melodic guitar and electric piano, out of the blue drum patterns before going into mid-layered sounds as the mellotron, sax, and synth take into the heavens whilst the crescendo beats, takes the listener into unbelievable results. Ottaedro brings into the elements of a combination between early Caravan and Hatfield and the North as if they were working together for Nine Feet Underground as if Richard Sinclair gives the band instructions on where to go next in the composition at the right moment.
Bossa-nova grooves can be out of the blue. But with Dogface, it works into the humor blender. Here along with Paolo “Ske” Botta on the synths, he adds into the underwater sounds for a brief second and the Symphonic-Brazilian fun side to the core, you could tell that Homunculus Res are having a blast on this piece and almost as if they are dancing into the groove as Botta soars into his magical hands. And never forgetting the homage to Sgt. Pepper-era and Harry Nilsson on the short instrumental, Paum.
This is my fourth time listening to Homunculus Res’ second album. I’m very impressed of what is done here. Not only the inspiration based around the city hospital which I could imagine they admired the sound of Egg’s The Polite Force for inspiration, but they came back for wild imaginative beauty that you might want to reach into more of the Canterbury adventures on what it’s to come.
AltrOck has scored another home run for me. I can’t wait to see what Marcello Marinone has in stores for the label and the Fading Records label for 2016.