Since their formation in 1978 in Milan, RIO/Avant-Rock group, Mamma Non Piangere led by guitarist/violinist Lorenzo Leddi were an unknown band from the genre and released two albums from 1979 to 1980 in which one of them was a live album and then, suddenly disbanded after they did 15 shows in Italy and Germany in 1981. It’s feels like something straight out of an episode of The X-Files on who was this band and why they broke-up is a mystery.
This year, they’ve released their new album and it’s their third and on a new label with the AltrOck label. This was four years in the making in which they recorded the sessions from July 17, 2011 to November 2, 2015 at the three recording studios; Frasca Studio, Studio Barzan, and Leddi Zeppelin Studios. And marking the return of the band’s music with a new line-up including original members; Roberto Meroni on Woodwind and Luca Perreca on Cello, Bass, and Vocals. Alongside Roberto, Lorenzo, and Luca, the line-up includes; Laura Agostinelli on Vocals, Maurizio Del Moanco on Alto/Tenor Sax and Vocals, Ferdinando Farao on Drums, and Walter Prati on Bass.
Ai Confini Della Realta sees MNP doing a twisted take between the essence of Zappa and Avant-Surf Rock with some odd time changes and swirling watery effects from the synths. You can imagine the band having a blast going into bonkers mode as they have the humoristic elements that would have given Weird Al Yankovic a chance to be taken by surprise of their sound and could be a perfect track for the Dr. Demento show.
The eerie and jazz-ballad with Ferdinando using the brushes on the drums setting up the tempo followed by the saxes dancing into the midnight skies followed by the string and ‘60s organ twist is an interesting idea, but it works in various levels with Sotto Di Noi. Laura herself has this operatic mind-boggling twist that she can go into those levels which gives MNP a chance to go into see where she will go next.
Opener, Spostamenti nods its hat to Gentle Giant, Van Der Graaf Generator, and Present’s Le Poison Qui Rend Fou-era. You have the guitars following in the spells of Roger Trigaux’s Guitar, Jazzy bass lines, Xylophones, and odd signatures that will get the jaw dropping with right momentum. Laura herself can shine brightly as if she is almost doing the patter musical boundaries featuring cars racing down the alleyway and Lorenzo almost writing this for her as a one woman musical short on Finestrino.
The chamber musical operatic touches of styles of Alban Berg bring an eerie touching tribute to Mario Marenco’s poetry of Sognavo as Laura’s voice reminiscent of Pierrot Lunaire’s Jacqueline Darby while the two tracks see MNP going into a Marching Band mode. The evidence is in there with Hanno Suonato and the closer, Siamo La Banda. Here, the band really takes the homage to Frank Zappa as if he had rewritten Meredith Wilson’s musical, The Music Man and made it a wacky and insane musical avant-rock dixieland opera.
It’s almost as if Mamma Non Piangere are doing it right and really nailing the sing-along beauties of the two tracks and giving the animated series, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic the big gigantic middle finger and showing a musical number is done right and making it fun and in your face. And once you read the lyrics for those two tracks, you can imagine the bouncing ball is following along the lines and singing them to know that the humor and whimsical wackiness is right there.
I always imagine these tracks could be used in one of the old Looney Tunes Merrie Melodies cartoons of the 1940s of the Robert Clampett-era or an episode of John Kricfalusi's Ren and Stimpy to give it a real jolt of electricity! This is one of the most vital, eruptive, mind-blowing and mind-boggling yet off the wall and zany albums I’ve listened to.
Here, Mamma Non Piangere show the humor and bits of the Zappa-sque vibrations thrown into the circle and they have done it right. Amazingly recommend for Zappa, Present, Gentle Giant, and Stormy Six.