Progressive Music Planet

PFM – “Emotional Tattoos”

“Emotional Tattoos” is the 19th studio album for RPI legends Premiata Forneria Marconi. What makes this album different from the rest? “Emotional Tattoos” is a double album but the music is the same on each disc. No the second disc is not instrumental. Rather, PFM recorded the album with English lyrics on the first disc and Italian lyrics on the second disc. The lyrics aren’t always a direct translation either.

PFM have album in each language and even re-recorded their second album “Per un amico” with English lyrics and renamed it “Photos of Ghosts” when the band was signed to ELP’s label Manticore. So “Emotional Tattoos” does rekindle that spirit in its overall approach. It’s nice in that if you are an RPI purist, the Italian lyrics are there or if you are someone like me who barely speaks English well, you have the first disc.

Musically, it’s hard to believe that PFM have been around as long as they have because they still sound absolutely amazing. Original drummer/vocalist Franz Di Cioccio still sounds great on both drums AND vocals. His raspy voice reminds me a little of Peter Gabriel but more of original Kayak singer Max Werner. Long time bassist Patrick Djivas is still a huge factor as well. With their rhythm section intact for so long, it’s no wonder all of the tracks on “Emotional Tattoos” are so tight.

In addition, violinist Lucio Fabbri has been with the band for many years and his presence is felt particularly on tracks like “Central District/Quartiere generale.” It’s hard not to think of Kansas with such a prominent violin part plus PFM penchant for strong melodies. Another gem is the opener “We’re Not an Island/Il Regno” which has the lushness of Wind & Wuthering era Genesis. The band include an instrumental “Freedom Square” which has little to do with the number of notes but rather playing the best notes. It shows that the band don’t need either language to communicate with their audience.

“Emotional Tattoos” also marks the debut of guitarist Marco Sfogli (James LaBrie band) and he fits in perfectly despite being known more as a prog metal guitarist. Ultimately, “Emotional Tattoos” proves that PFM are very much a force to be reckoned with. Many bands from the RPI scene of the 70s have come and gone but PFM are one of the few that have weathered every trend and remain and the very TOP of their game today. “Emotional Tattoos” is all the proof needed.

Rating: 9/10

Tracklist:

CD 1: English

  1. We’re Not an Island
  2. Morning Freedom
  3. The Lesson
  4. So Long
  5. A Day We Share
  6. There’s a Fire in Me
  7. Central District
  8. Freedom Square
  9. I’m Just a Sound
  10. Hannah
  11. It’s My Road

CD 2: Italian

  1. Il Regno
  2. Oniro
  3. La lezione
  4. Mayday
  5. La danza degli specchi
  6. Il cielo che c’è
  7. Quartiere generale
  8. Freedom Square
  9. Dalla Terra alla Luna
  10. Le cose belle
  11. Big Bang

Label: Inside Out Music
Website: www.pfmworld.com