PFM: Paper Charms

The Italian band’s complete BBC recordings 1974-1976 – molto buono!

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PFM have often been cited as the best Italian prog band of the 1970s, but even that doesn’t serve to give them enough credit.

Premiata Forneria Marconi (to give them their full name) were among the true inspirations of the era, and you can hear it on this triple-disc set, subtitled The Complete BBC Recordings 1974-1976. The Beeb performances compiled here show the band were more than capable of transcending their Crimson, Tull and Yes influences, and that they could stand apart from the crowd. The first CD sees PFM in concert for Radio One during 1975, showcasing songs like Four Holes In The Ground and Alta Loma 5 ’Till 9 (the latter including a snippet from the William Tell Overture). Here you can tell just what a fascinating band they are, something equally obvious a year later with another Radio One live recording that takes up the second CD. The DVD comprises footage from The Old Grey Whistle Test, getting its first official release here, and this is what really makes the box set. Each of these rare appearances is spellbinding, as PFM warm to the task and overcome the trademark austerity of the Whistle Test’s spartan studio. A fine box set, and a fine tribute to a great band.

Malcolm Dome

Malcolm Dome had an illustrious and celebrated career which stretched back to working for Record Mirror magazine in the late 70s and Metal Fury in the early 80s before joining Kerrang! at its launch in 1981. His first book, Encyclopedia Metallica, published in 1981, may have been the inspiration for the name of a certain band formed that same year. Dome is also credited with inventing the term "thrash metal" while writing about the Anthrax song Metal Thrashing Mad in 1984. With the launch of Classic Rock magazine in 1998 he became involved with that title, sister magazine Metal Hammer, and was a contributor to Prog magazine since its inception in 2009. He died in 2021