MARCO PANELLA – Eastern Landscapes

Auger Down

This American artist of unambiguous Mediterranean origins is also a nearly literal namesake of the Italian Radical Party’s founder (but, for our good luck, much brighter; not that it takes an extreme effort to achieve that goal, though). Helped by the sweetly untrained voice of wife Anna Bario (who, all alone, delicately intones the conclusive “M”) and bassist Tyler Gibbons, the man is “endowed” with a pokerfaced tone, as if he didn’t care a iota about the mere concept of uttering lyrics in tune, preferring to chew them up as they happen to materialize in his mind (and mixing the whole in a way that often drowns the singing amidst the sounds). That said, the actual strength lies in the approach to the guitars – both acoustic and electric – plucked and picked with cleverness and piquancy, giving relevance to tunings that exalt inexplicably tilted resonances and moderate clashes between the upper partials. The songs are effective, too: think of a cross of Sam Amidon’s bad brother (accompanied by a sum of all the guitarists who have played with Captain Beefheart) and a calmer type of person – who may even love bits of Neil Young and the likes – willing to let the echo of a 000 model vibrate and stay there, enjoying the resounding jangle and the smell of wood coming from within the sound hole. Look, I’m not wasting additional time with words: the guy has balls and personality, and knows the right moment in which the notes must die away. Listening to this record is a pleasure, and this writer is looking forward to hear more from Panella, a name to keep ears open for. Fellow axemen, take note: the cat can play (and presumably stands well clear off the door of politics).

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