Acqua Fragile - A New Chant album review

Veteran Italian trio end 42‑year hiatus

Acqua Fragile - A New Chant album artwork

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Acqua Fragile formed part of a fertile Italian prog scene in the early 70s, with singer Bernardo Lanzetti often labelled the Italian Peter Gabriel. The band originally split soon after the frontman left in 1975 to join the scene’s leading lights, Premiata Forneria Marconi, but four decades on they’re finally reunited. Lanzetti rejoin drummer Piero Canavera and bassist Franz Dondi for a third album, and they do a tidy job of recapturing the old magic here. Lanzetti’s formidable pipes have matured but he still has a commanding semi‑operatic charisma to his voice on the car chase soundtrack rush of All Rise and the windswept acoustic balladry of the title track.

His theatrical exhortations on The Drowning also have echoes of Peter Hammill’s VdGG pomp, but elsewhere a judicious choice of guest players enhance the sound too. Alex Giallombardo’s jazz patterns on guitar make beguiling cameos, as do Alessandro Sgobbio’s synth solos. King Crimson wordsmith Pete Sinfield and Steve Hackett lyricist Nick Clabburn contribute some strong lines, but Lanzetti’s own bon mots are part of the charm – Wear Your Car Proudly’s slightly jarring use of English, for instance, only adds to the febrile, edgy mood of the piece

Johnny Sharp

Johnny is a regular contributor to Prog and Classic Rock magazines, both online and in print. Johnny is a highly experienced and versatile music writer whose tastes range from prog and hard rock to R’n’B, funk, folk and blues. He has written about music professionally for 30 years, surviving the Britpop wars at the NME in the 90s (under the hard-to-shake teenage nickname Johnny Cigarettes) before branching out to newspapers such as The Guardian and The Independent and magazines such as Uncut, Record Collector and, of course, Prog and Classic Rock