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Thursday, March 7, 2013

Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso: Buone Notizie


1) Taxi; 2) Canzone D'Amore; 3) Si, Ma Si; 4) Buona Notte, Sogni D'Oro; 5) Baciami Alfredo; 6) Michele E Il Treno; 7) AM-FM; 8) Buone Notizie.

If possible, this is even more «pop» than its predecessor. Now there aren't even any of those stu­pid «monster riffs» like the one that opened ʽSenza Riguardoʼ, nor any attempts to preserve their jazz-fusion legacy like ʽFeliceʼ. Every single track you can dance to, sometimes in slower, some­times in faster motion, and everything is almost unbearably, disgustingly happy — in an odd con­trast with the sleeve photo, where the band members choose to look like a band of captured parti­giani, grimly preparing to meet the firing squad.

I will not deny that the arrangements are not always awful, or that the songs are not always hook­less. They could have done a lot worse: this upbeat, playful, New Wave-influenced vibe that they latch on is at least much better than choosing to drown themselves in saccharine balladry or up­date the «San Remo vibe» by refueling the pomp with synthesizer arrangements — both of these options would be very easy to implement, and the consequences would have been absolutely hor­rendous. Thus, in a way, this particular mode of selling out is probably the least painful way in which they could sell out at the moment.

This does not, however, remove the basic problem — these are simply stupid songs, as in «stupid stupid», not «cutely stupid» or «charmingly stupid» or even «silly stupid». Even if your Italian is good enough to understand such witty lines as "Ho un libro di Bukowsky sull'eiaculazione" (ʽTa­xiʼ), it does not save the situation. The texts, overall, try to be impressionistic, educated, and, oc­ca­sionally, socially relevant, but they are set to such «slap-happy» arrangements that any attempt to get a «message» out of them will be spiritually blocked. All they do is simply invite you to jump on the spot like a two-year old, in an incomprehensible paroxysm of rhythmic joy. Fast ones like ʽSi, Ma Siʼ and the title track are the worst of the lot, but slower lullabies like ʽBuona Notte, Sogni D'Oroʼ do not actually change the mood — they are less idiotic, but more boring.

By the general standards of mainstream Italian dance-pop, this is fairly decent quality, I guess: with keyboards and guitars still striving for modestly complex melodicity, and with DiGiacomo still in full control of his voice, the album is technically accomplished. But its rhythmic base is absolutely, utterly primitive, its emotional impact is negligible, and its hooks stupid and meaning­less. Consequently, yet another thumbs down — and by now, it seems all but impossible that the band will ever get a chance to see the light once again.


  1. Oh damn, the intro of Si, Ma Sol actually is clever; it returns at the end. Then such a stupid song follows. In addition to your complaints: the melody of this song is so generic it hurts. The instrumental part, including the guitar solo manages to be even more generic.
    It's exactly the same as with Turner era Rainbow - you can hear the guys have talent and only can curse the day they decided to abuse it like this.

    1. Turner ear Rainbow was really just Blackmore returning to his pop roots. Some of the material is cheesy, and it's all dated badly, but it isn't the abomination some people make it out to be.

      This Banco band, on the other hand...sheesh! That guy at the end looks like a garden gnome. At least they kept their shirts on for the cover photo!

  2. Blackmore had no pop roots. He began as a Hank Marvin clone. Turner era Rainbow is quite the abomination those some people make it out to be; not because Blackmore went poppy (I like Down to Earth) but because of several cumulative reasons:
    1. the declining quality of the riffs.
    2. the limited of skills of Turner. I have heard him on a bootleg, Cardiff 1983 or 1984, trying to sing Stargazer and Long live Rock'n'Roll - he just couldn't.
    3. the boring monotonous bass lines of Glover.
    4. the boring 4/4 patterns of both drummers.
    5. the sweet synths.

    In Rockpalast 1995 or 96 Doogie White sung several Turner songs. The difference is stunning.
    So I maintain that the three Rainbow/Turner albums are an abuse of talent indeed - that I still can hear the talent only makes things worse, just like Si Ma Si.
    In case you wonder: Blackmore is my favourite guitarist of all time.

  3. Of those gentlemen on the photo who is the singer?

    1. That would be the gentleman in the back, Francesco DiGiacomo, or the Garden Gnome as Malx said.